Celebrating National Mentoring Month

Jan 18, 2023

The Pennsylvania Action Coalition Celebrates National Mentoring Month

In recognition of National Mentoring Month, the Pennsylvania Action Coalition is celebrating the success of the PA-AC Cohort of Exchanged Learning (PA-ACCEL) Mentorship Program. This mentorship program was created by the Pennsylvania Action Coalition’s Nurse Diversity Council (PA-NDC) in partnership with Lincoln University's Department of Nursing. The program aims to bolster nursing students’ capacity to be successful both in nursing school and in their transition to professional nursing practice. A mentee cohort of junior and senior nursing students from Lincoln University are matched with a professional mentor from various nursing fields for one academic year. Throughout this program mentors and mentees meet virtually or in-person.

Learn more about the PA-ACCEL Mentorship Program  

Thank you to our Program Sponsor

On behalf of the PA Action Coalition, we extend our deepest appreciation for the generous support of the Independence Blue Cross Foundation for funding the PA-ACCEL Mentorship Program. We look forward to continuing to inspire future generations of nurse leaders and thank you for your support in building a healthier Pennsylvania through nursing leadership.

In our first evaluation of the 2022-2023 cohort, 92% of students found the PA-ACCEL Mentorship Program to be helpful so far. In their personal reflections, many students expressed gaining a stronger understanding of their gifts and strengths.

In this same evaluation, 90% of mentors found their relationship with their student-mentee to be a positive one.

PA-ACCEL Mentor Spotlights

PA-ACCEL mentors are recruited from the Nurse Diversity Council of the Pennsylvania Action Coalition and come from various nursing backgrounds. Mentors are matched with student-mentees according to interests and desired career paths. 

Interested in becoming a mentor with the PA-ACCEL program? We will be recruiting mentors for the next cohort in summer of 2023. 

Learn more about our PA-ACCEL Mentors  

Essence Williams-Sutherland

Meet PA-ACCEL Mentor, Essence Williams-Sutherland, MSN, RNC-MNN, CBC, LCCE. Essence Williams-Sutherland is the Nurse Manager for a maternal-child health postpartum home visiting program. She supervises four to five nurses and other maternal child health administrative staff with the Family Connects Program with the Central Jersey Family Health Consortium (CJFHC). Williams-Sutherland has a strong desire to promote health equity and empower women, men, children, and families in underserved communities no matter their age. She is passionate about nurse mentorship and finds joy in mentoring nursing students at Lincoln University. Essence has volunteered with the PA-ACCEL Mentorship Program for three consecutive years since its inception in 2020. When asked about her experience as a mentor she shared:

I am so grateful and blessed to have the opportunity to be a part of the PA-ACCEL Mentorship program. This is my 3rd year in the program and I absolutely love it! I am passionate about nurse mentorship and I truly find joy in mentoring and working with the nursing students in the PA-ACCEL program affiliated with Lincoln University. The program helps students with nursing resources, resume writing, NCLEX preparation and professional development skills and most importantly it helps me build positive nurse mentorship relationships and connections with my nurse mentees.

My goal in the program is to continue to mentor, teach, inspire and empower the next generation of students in the nursing profession. I look forward to helping my nurse mentees fulfill their career passions and accomplish their dreams. I am a firm believer that mentorship positively changes lives! I wouldn’t be half the nurse mentor that I am today, if it had not been for my nursing and midwifery mentors who came before me and helped pave the way and I hope to do the same for my nurse mentees in the program. I couldn’t be more humbled and honored to mentor my nurse mentees and to work with such an excellent team of mentors and healthcare professionals in the PA-ACCEL program!

Essence Williams-Sutherland, Nurse Manager, Family Connects Program with the Central Jersey Family Health Consortium (CJFHC)

Saumya Ayyagari

Meet PA-ACCEL Mentor, Saumya Ayyagari, MSN, MPH. Saumya Ayyagari is the Nursing Workforce Development Manager for the Pennsylvania Action Coalition (PA-AC) and The National Nurse-Led Care Consortium (NNCC). She oversees the Pennsylvania Clinical Faculty and Preceptor Academy (CFPA) Advisory Board, which creates curricula for training nursing faculty and preceptors in Health and Human Services Region 3. She works to scale up access to high quality training for new nurses through expanding the reach of the PA Nurse Residency Collaborative. As a mentor, Ayyagari is passionate about helping others realize their potential, and channeling her enthusiasm towards being supportive of her mentee. Saumya is a newer mentor to the program and shared this about her experience:

It is a joy to learn about my mentee's dreams and to support her in accomplishing her short and long-term goals.
Saumya Ayyagari, Nursing Workforce Development Manager, PA Action Coalition and The National Nurse-Led Care Consortium

Thank you to our PA-ACCEL Mentors!

The Pennsylvania Action Coalition would like to express a special thank you to all PA-ACCEL mentors for their dedication to their mentees and the program. We are thankful to have your expertise guiding the next generation of nurses. 


Photos of PA-ACCEL student-mentees at the 2022 National Black Nurses Day on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. and the 50th National Black Nurses Association Annual Conference in Chicago, IL.