When Victor Mensah was 12-years-old, he and his family moved to the U.S. from Ghana. Filled with the dreams most immigrants share, they settled into a small place in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

It can’t hurt to have someone like you, who looks like you, doing great things.

On his first day of school, Victor walked into a science class. He wanted to be a doctor or maybe a soccer player. Instead, he became the class clown, driving his Spanish teacher nuts. But even the frequent trips to the principal’s office failed to dissuade him from acting silly in class. He wanted to fit in. And making his classmates laugh was a sure way in.

Then, one night when he was a junior in high school, everything came to a stop. Victor found his dad on the floor, dead. “The majority of what I am today comes from that adversity,” says Victor who now mentors youth in some of the poorest neighborhoods of New Brunswick. “When I talk to my kids and tell them I’m gonna be a doctor, they say ‘What are you gonna do when people die and stuff?’ I’ve already suffered the worst loss I can ever imagine suffering. I’m not really afraid of much any more.”  



Victor Mensah is a third-year medical student at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Jersey. He has been mentoring first-generation college students like himself for the past five years. Recently, he started a community project in New Brunswick that  introduces elementary school students from low-income communities to careers in Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.