Amy and Jie Wen
About the Pair
Last spring, when Jie Wen saw her friends getting acceptance letters from the same colleges she applied to, she grew concerned that she hadn’t gotten any responses. Weeks later, she learned from one of her top-choice schools, Brooklyn College, that there was a problem with her transcript: Her math Regents scores hadn’t been reported to the school. Jie Wen panicked. She had worked so hard on her essay and application, and had studied for months for her exams. To figure out what to do next, Jie Wen turned to the person who had helped her get this far—her mentor, Amy.
iMentor matched Jie Wen and Amy Chen, who works in wealth management at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, at the start of Jie Wen’s junior year of high school, through iMentor’s partnership with the International High School Lafayette. Jie Wen’s family had recently moved to the United States from China, and Jie Wen was nervous about having a mentor. “She is the first adult outside of my school and family that I met after I came to the United States,” Jie Wen remembers. But after reading her first email from Jie Wen, Amy knew how to break the ice. Jie Wen mentioned she liked trying new foods, so Amy invited her to meet up over Indian dosas. Two years later, Jie Wen still remembers that first meal they had together. “One of my favorite things we did is try Indian food.”
After building this foundation, for the next two years, the pair emailed once a week and met once a month in person to work on developing Jie Wen’s leadership skills, financial literacy, and college application materials. For example, Jie Wen had never seen a check before. Amy brought her checkbook to an in-person meeting and showed her how checks are written and how she balances her account. These types of practical lessons were helpful when it came time for Jie Wen to budget for college and fill out her financial aid forms. Amy is glad she could help Jie Wen complete these important milestones. “Students sometimes assume that college is just going to happen,” she says. “But the iMentor program helps them understand that there is a process they need to be in control of to get there.”
After all of their careful planning, Amy didn’t want Jie Wen’s application to Brooklyn College to slip through the cracks. “Amy encouraged me and said we could find a way to solve the problem,” said Jie Wen. Amy suggested that Jie Wen follow up with the school and her teachers. Jie Wen found out she could write an appeal letter to Brooklyn College, and the pair talked out the best way she could advocate for herself before writing it all down. They went over all of Jie Wen’s qualifications—the classes she took to prepare her for college, her high scores on the math Regents, her role in student government, and her perfect attendance in high school. After writing the letter, Jie Wen was still unsure of her chances.
Just one week later, Jie Wen got an email from Brooklyn College, and it was good news. She couldn’t believe it when she read she’d been accepted, and forwarded the email to her friends—and to Amy—to ask them if it was real. College is reality for Jie Wen, thanks to the support of her mentor. And how did they celebrate her good news? Jie Wen said with excitement, “We are going to go out for Korean tofu—I can’t wait to try it.”