Jean Ferman: Mentoring Provides the Opportunity to Give Back
By Debbie Willmschen
When Jean Ferman first started at NC State, he was not clear on what his major might be. But after meeting Dean David Hinks at a major fair for the Wilson College of Textiles, Ferman decided to explore opportunities at Wilson College. Then, when Hinks explained the polymer and color chemistry (PCC) program, Ferman immediately became interested.
“I remember thinking that if the dean of the college was at the fair, instead of ambassadors or advisors, then the faculty and staff for this program must be supportive of their students every step of the way,” said Ferman. “After that event, I changed my major to PCC. And I was right about the support that I would receive. The faculty has been in my corner the entire time. For example, if I didn’t do well on an assignment, the professor would reach out and make sure everything was going well. It was moments like this that kept me going during my time here.”
Ferman graduated recently with Bachelor of Science degrees (in both PCC and biological sciences) and will join Tufts University School of Dental Medicine this fall.
“Eventually, I want to work in rural areas and with marginalized communities to provide patients with quality oral hygiene care who might otherwise not have access to these services,” said Ferman. “And I want to apply my PCC knowledge to work on more sustainable options for the field of dentistry.”
Looking back over his time in Wilson College, Ferman is most proud of his time spent as a mentor to incoming students of color as well as first-generation and low-income students in programs such as CAMINOS, the annual Symposium for Multicultural Scholars and Summer Start.
“These opportunities allowed me to give back to my community and help students who are walking the path I once walked,” said Ferman. “I didn’t have all the answers when I first started at Wilson College, and I remember how lost I felt. Being able to use what I learned to help others has given me the opportunity to lift others as I climb.”
If Ferman could offer advice, he wants incoming students to realize that although the college experience might be challenging at times, that professors are willing to help wherever they can.
“I would say, get comfortable with being uncomfortable,” said Ferman. “College is an experience filled with growth, ups and downs, and long nights. If you want that research position, that summer gig, need help in a course or want to join a student organization, simply reach out! Closed mouths don’t get fed.”