Mentorship Matters 

Doctoral student, Ernest Eshun provides insight on how his pursuit of education has allowed him to become a mentor to others.

Driven to use his story to inspire others, Ernest Eshun, a doctoral student in communication is determined to spread his love for mentorship.  

His upbringing in Ghana, West Africa, taught him to make the most of the resources he had.  

“My parents told me to plan your day so that you are able to achieve much with the little time you have,” he said. 

So, he used his time to pursue his purpose through education.  

After completing his master’s degree, he had a conversation with his professor who was an alumna of the University of Missouri. After that, he decided Mizzou would be a good place to continue his studies.  

A golden opportunity  

Eshun had a goal of making the most of his student experience by impacting the lives of others. 

Through an email invitation, he was recruited to be a mentor for the Emerging Leaders Program – a program teaching high school students about civic engagement and college access while giving them an opportunity to enhance their leadership skills. Engaging with students across the state of Missouri helped him appreciate different perspectives.  

“Diversity works beautifully if you are willing to listen and understand each other,” he said. “Sometimes it is difficult meeting people from different places and putting them together to work on a group project to achieve an objective, but the Office of Academic Access and Leadership Development (AALD) within the Division of Inclusion, Diversity and Equity (IDE) did that perfectly.” 

His involvement didn’t end with Emerging Leaders. He also took the opportunity to invest in his own academic development by joining Graduate Scholars of Excellence (GSE), a program developed for students pursuing a doctoral degree at Mizzou. 

Mentorship matters  

Eshun was introduced to GSE by another Tiger. Through the program, he has supported students by encouraging and leading them to available resources on campus.  

“Inclusion, diversity and equity are important. We need to bring everyone on board,” said Eshun. “We have so much to lose if we don’t bring everyone along.”  

Graduate Scholars of Excellence and the Emerging Leaders Program have empowered Eshun  

“That fear that I once had before coming into my program, is something I no longer have.”  

Lifting as he climbs 

For Eshun, the highlight of his experience with Emerging Leaders occurred when he took the students through interactive public speaking exercises, as he currently teaches public speaking in his department.  

“The students shared with me how I impacted them, and I realized then that it doesn’t take a long time to make an impact,” he said. 

Eshun became involved with Emerging Leaders to share his experience with students and encourage them. 

“If someone like me from a small place in Africa has been able to make it this far, there is no reason why they cannot be greater and go beyond what I am doing,” he said.