Spotlight on an Outstanding Latina Mentor to Underserved Youth

Spotlight on an Outstanding Latina Mentor to Underserved Youth

One crucial tool for success in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education is effective mentorship. Mentors can play important roles in all levels of education. Effective mentors can expose students to new STEM topics, provide opportunities for first-hand involvement in STEM activities, develop a pay-it-forward mentality to create a generation of future mentors, promote diversity and inclusion in STEM fields, and encourage personal growth and confidence among STEM students. Without mentors, many students slip through the cracks and lose interest in their education.

At the East Harlem Tutorial Program (EHTP), an organization in New York City that strives to improve college preparation and readiness among underserved youth, including preparation in STEM education, one woman has stood out as an outstanding mentor. In her role as director of social services for EHTP’s Out-of-School Time (OST) social program, Martinique Teperman strives to promote diversity and inclusion and encourage personal growth and confidence among students. She was recently awarded the Latino Social Work Coalition Leadership Award for her efforts. Keep reading to learn more about this inspiring woman and the organization that sponsors her award.

Ms. Teperman’s Biography

Martinique Teperman
Image courtesy EHTP.org

Martinique Teperman graduated with a bachelor’s in sociology and romance languages from New York University prior to enrolling in Columbia University’s School of Social Work, where she studied advanced clinical social work studies with a concentration on family, youth, and children’s services. After graduating, she served as a clinical social work fellow at the Yale Child Study Center, working with youth ages 5-18 who were dealing with mental health issues, and as a senior social worker at the Children’s Aid Society, where she focused on the prevention of teenage pregnancy.

Ms. Teperman joined EHTP in 2014 as the deputy director of social services and family engagement. She held this role for three years before being promoted to her current position.

As director of social services for the OST program, she is responsible for the social care of 400 students in grades K-12. She has focused on creating support groups for high school students, providing monthly workshops for parents, and establishing the OST Family Council. Ms. Teperman also supervises masters-level social workers as well as students completing internships for their master of social work degrees. These efforts make her stand out as a key mentor in nurturing the personal growth and confidence of the students and families involved in EHTP.

Additionally, while at EHTP, Ms. Teperman has become certified as an anti-racism facilitator. Taking equality seriously, EHTP has published a racial equity statement that calls on its staff members to work not only to eliminate racism at EHTP and in the world but to also acknowledge their own conscious and unconscious racial biases. Ms. Teperman’s role as an anti-racism facilitator fits within EHTP’s published strategic goals of achieving racial equity in the organization and in the world. Her activism in equity efforts makes her an ideal role model for traditionally underserved and underrepresented students.

About the Latino Social Work Coalition and Scholarship Fund, LLC

Sponsoring her award is the Latino Social Work Coalition and Scholarship Fund. a New York City organization that aims to address the shortage of Latino social workers who serve the Latino community. In addition to offering scholarships, advocating for social work policy, and providing training, the Fund also awards annual prizes to outstanding social workers serving the Latino community in New York City.

Past winners of the annual award include representatives of social work programs at Columbia University, Fordham University, Adelphi University, Lehman College, Hunter College, and Yeshiva University. Others have represented hospitals and clinics where the awardees provide mental health counseling and social work services. Martinique Teperman is just one of many award winners honored over the years.

Meanwhile, there are 27 member-organizations of the Latino Social Work Coalition, including social work programs at New York City-area colleges and universities, the US Food and Drug Administration, the New York City chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, and the National Association of Puerto Rican & Hispanic Social Workers.

The Latino Social Work Coalition and Scholarship Fund was founded in 2000 when the New York City chapter of the National Association of Social Workers and the Puerto Rican Family Institute launched a partnership to raise awareness of the need for more Latino social workers in New York City. In 2002, the two groups organized their first public policy forum, focusing on key issues in social services for the New York City Latino community.

Over the years, many more workshops and conferences have been held by the Coalition. Some recent topics have included developing a multi-systemic approach to the entire lifecycle, consequences of the social worker shortage to key issues in the Latino community, and the impact of opioids on communities of color.