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Moorehead opens Women's Center series with talk on self-mentorship

Published on March 01, 2024

Moorehead opens Women's Center series with talk on self-mentorship

She leans in group photoTanya Moorehead, professor of special education at Eastern Connecticut State University, spoke to students at the inaugural Women’s Center “She Leans In” event. Drawing from her experiences as a Black woman in higher education, she offered advice on finding mentorship and achieving success for students. 

Moorehead’s guiding question for students was “How do we mentor ourselves?” She emphasized that the most consistent mentor a person can have is themselves, noting that all work begins within us and that students have the power to set themselves up for success.  

Moorehead shared three key elements that she uses in her daily life. The first is monitoring how she begins her day; the second is making space for herself during the week; third, she reads for pleasure. 

Organizers of the She Leans In event
From left to right: Women's Center ambassador Amia Lott, Tanya Moorehead, and Director of the Women's Center Starsheemar Byrum

On an ideal morning, Moorehead said, she wakes up early, puts on music and makes a list of what she’d like to accomplish in the morning. Her list included getting out of bed, which she could check off immediately, “giving (herself) success at the beginning of the day.” 

She noted that she may also add to the list a brief workout and reading motivational quotes, scripture and affirmations. “We have such power in our mouths,” Moorehead said. She encouraged students to declare the things they want for themselves, whether it's success or patience or something else to meet their needs. 

All of this is done before she goes on her phone or checks email, allowing her to “set the tone for the day before letting others in.” 

At the end of the week, on “self-care Friday,” Moorehead gives herself time and space to recharge and relax. This can involve meeting up with a friend, getting a manicure or catching up on a show she enjoys. Within this, she reminded students to have discipline: “Don’t abandon life. Just pause the chaos for a moment.” 

Only recently has Moorehead discovered her last tip for students: reading purely for enjoyment. Wanting to test a pedagogical (teaching) experiment, she asked students in one of her courses to select a book that they would like to read for fun. They would then have to set aside time to devote to reading that book according to their schedule. 

Moorehead joined the experiment herself, hoping to disrupt the connection between reading and work in her and many students’ lives.  

To close, Moorehead advised students to seek mentorship outside of themselves from those who “meet (their) needs.” She reminded students that a good mentor respects and seeks to understand their mentee and pushes them to be successful.  

Tanya Moorehead
Tanya Moorehead

She offered an anecdote of a student she mentored while in graduate school at the University of Central Florida. The student reached out to Moorehead, and she was able to travel to watch the student graduate. The student then came to Eastern, where Moorehead could instruct them further. “This student now has a daughter and is still in my life,” she said. “It’s beautiful to see someone at different stages in their life.” 

Other “She Leans In” events will take place on March 26, where students will hear from Criminology Professor Racheal Pesta, and April 23, when English Professor Christine Garcia will speak.

Written by Marcus Grant