An Inspiring Mentor

By Randell Evans

Lehman College student Latavia Sturdivant – who suffers from cerebral palsy – is an inspiration to her fellow classmates as she juggles taking advice from her mentor, helping her mentee with his grades and maintaining a 3.9 grade point average.

According to her mentor, Amanda Dubois, Sturdivant did not need help academically. She was proactive about obtaining a mentor just in case she started to struggle with her courses.

“She is good in the academic sense,” said Dubois. “She doesn’t really need me for that look at her GPA.”

Sturdivant is an upper junior speech pathology major with an interest in disability law. She said her ultimate goal is to be an advocate for people with disabilities.

Even though Dubois did not help Sturdivant much academically, she was able to guide her by showing her the correct words to say when frustrated in order to maintain professionalism.

“I’m a strong-headed person, so sometimes I don’t know how to say things in a tactful way,” Sturdivant says. “I will come to Amanda and say ‘Look I’m frustrated, I don’t want to go in there frustrated so how do I say it in a nice way so I don’t sound like that?’”

Suffering from cerebral palsy, Sturdivant faced many struggles during her academic journey at Lehman College. Being in a wheelchair, one of her challenges was inaccessibility. She says the college did not want to give her a desk when she was a freshman.

She explains that Lehman offered her a clipboard because the higher desk she needed for her wheelchair was not in the school’s budget.

Sturdivant ended up doing research on the larger chair and the college agreed to purchase the product.

Nowadays, Sturdivant is mentoring Giovanni Yapor, a social work and psychology major. As a double major student, Yapor is required to submit academic papers to his professors in order to complete certain courses. As his mentor, Sturdivant edits his writing assignments before he hands them in.

“Latavia communicated with me during the spring break to see if I am staying on track with my school work,” Yapor said.

She also helped her friend and Lehman College student Nicole Orozco during a first-year speech class where they first met.

“She made me understand the material and made me realize that the material was not that difficult,” Orozco said.

Sturdivant’s loved ones are very proud of her academic success and her strength to accomplish goals without letting anything get in her way.

“As times get tough — keep pushing,” Sturdivant said.

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