The launch of LSA Connect would not have been possible without the generous support of the Gerstein Family. Please read below a personal letter from Mark and Julie Gerstein.
Putting the "connect" in LSA Connect
We are so pleased to have the opportunity to help shape the mission of the Mentorship Program at the LSA Opportunity Hub and to provide funding that has made the launch of LSA Connect possible.
Our family is indebted to the University of Michigan for so much of the success and happiness we have enjoyed as LSA students and life thereafter. I, Mark, graduated from the College of Literature, Science and the Arts in 1981 as a Political Science major; our daughter Allison is a 2013 alum of the School of Nursing; and our son Evan graduated in 2016, also with a degree in Political Science. I, Julie, am a proud Tufts University graduate, Class of 1981, but I’ve boldly worn the Maize & Blue ever since Allison attended campus.
Why did we decide to invest in LSA Connect? In short, we were compelled to support students in one of the most important projects of their lives: connecting their education to their goals and aspirations beyond college.
We are strong believers in the holistic value of a liberal arts education. It was our own edifying and rich experiences with our liberal arts studies, our discovery of courses ranging from Art History to Statistics, which developed our intellect, taught us how to think critically, and enriched our lives in ways we still benefit from decades later. This enduring value of the liberal arts has driven our support of LSA over the years.
We were attracted to the Hub’s Mentorship Program for two reasons. First, mentorship has been a lifelong passion for both of us. I, Julie, began my professional life as a Career Counselor at a nonprofit organization assisting unemployed individuals returning to work, and I’ve served as a mentor in a local program serving first-generation applicants to college. I, Mark, have been involved in the leadership of Becoming a Man (BAM) since its inception, a mentorship program serving challenged youth in Chicago. I also do double duty by serving as a mentor for the alums of the BAM program.
Second, we’re inspired by the Hub’s vision of translating a student’s liberal arts education and classroom learning into near- and long-term career opportunities that are both meaningful and connected back to student goals and aspirations.The Hub holds a view we share: that one of the critical bridges between a broad liberal arts education and career pursuits is mentorship.
LSA Connect gives students the opportunity to connect with alums who have once been in their shoes and who share common backgrounds or interests. Our hope is that through an online community like LSA Connect, all LSA students are given equitable access to mentoring, leveling social capital in the post-collegiate world in the same way, and with the same goals, as our University seeks when affording broad access to education for students of all backgrounds and experiences.
We are both mentors on LSA Connect, and urge our fellow alums to join the effort. You can make a difference one student at a time!
Mark & Julie Gerstein