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  • Writer's pictureChloe Lewis

Meet our Mentoring Pairs: Denise and Habon

It's time to introduce another one of our mentoring pairs! Denise and Habon started mentoring in 2021-22, and have continued into a second year of working together. Denise is an Associate Nutritionist with a PhD in Nutrition and Food Poverty. Habon is a Year 13 student at Hammersmith Academy.

Words by Amara Agwo


Denise and Habon have been working together for over a year. First matched because of a shared interest in STEM Careers, their mentoring so far has gone from strength to strength. When they first matched, Habon was still deciding potential future paths for herself. She reflected that one of her favourite sessions with Denise was discussing their different paths to date: "Denise was an A-level student who wanted to study Dietetics, but fate pushed her where she is now, completing a PhD in food nutrition. This will open amazing doors for her like working in the private sector with organisations like W.H.O."

Denise has been a motivated and passionate mentor within the Catalyst community. She described her motivations for first joining the Catalyst: "I wanted to contribute to my community and provide the support that I wish I had gotten when I was younger. To show young Black girls that you really can be whoever you want to be."

Habon has found it useful to have the support of a mentor at a pivotal time in her life. There are parallels between their separate journeys, as both mentor and mentee have learnt to adapt as they figure out which paths to take. At the start of year 12, Habon had her mind set on studying medicine, and already had her top university choices picked out:

"I thought I knew exactly what I wanted and where I wanted to go. However as the year went by, I developed more skills and insight on my subjects as well as getting work experience. With all these new aspects and experiences, I began to feel as if medicine was not the path I wanted to go on. All of a sudden I felt lost on what I want to do or even where to go." Habon had been confused about what path to take, but she says that "just talking to a mentor helped me overcome the overwhelming feeling." She now aspires to study Mathematics at university, and wants to go into the technology and engineering industry.

In her journey to understand what her future may hold, Habon has modelled adaptability and perseverance. When we asked on advice for the next cohort of Catalyst mentees, she shared: "Have an open mind, you never know if you truly want something until you try it and talk about it. There are so many opportunities out there and sometimes it just takes one person to help you connect to these other amazing people."

A core of the Catalyst mentoring model is that mentors have the chance to gain as much as they give to their mentee. Denise recognised this as part of her Catalyst journey so far: "I’m grateful that I got to be part of this community that lives up to its mandate of making meaningful connections, be it with your mentee, other mentors or the team."

Habon's last piece of advice? "Build your own network; if you want any advice for your future it is that networking is key to success. The Catalyst helped me do that and I encourage you to do the same."

And if that wasn't persuasive enough, Denise added, "Join the Catalyst! If you are looking to inspire and be inspired this is the place to be. Everyone is truly amazing!"


To get involved as part of the next cohort, mentors can visit: Future mentees should watch this space, as we have something exciting coming next academic year.

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