Vital Academic Mentoring Partnership Continues to Thrive

Jones-Zimmermann Academic Mentoring Program Pairs Trinity College Student Mentors with Middle Schoolers

​Hartford, Connecticut, August 8, 2017 – Trinity College has received a $75,000 grant for continued support of the Jones-Zimmermann Academic Mentoring Program (J-Z AMP™), which was established at Trinity in 2001 through the Marie & John Zimmermann Fund.

​HMTCA student Steve Dayes and Trinity College
mentor Joe Tansino ’20
J-Z AMP is a school-based mentoring program that pairs college student mentors with middle schoolers identified by their teachers as needing extra support to catch up to grade-level expectations and develop the skills and self-confidence to help them aspire to higher education levels and graduate from high school. The program supports three college-middle school sites in Connecticut; Trinity’s program provides mentorship to students at the Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy (HMTCA), who participate in three consecutive years of programming beginning in sixth grade.

Program Manager Beatrice Alicea, who joined J-Z AMP at Trinity in January, leads the initiative. A native of Hartford and East Hartford, she completed her undergraduate studies at the University of St. Joseph and earned a master’s from the University of Connecticut School of Social Work. Alicea’s previous work with youth inspired her commitment to student success. “What attracted me most to this position was that I had the opportunity to work with both adolescent youth, and college students,” she said. “I find it rewarding to train the college mentors and then witness the development of their skills as they work with students; we have created a community where everyone engages in further learning.”

For the 23 enrolled HMTCA students and 16 Trinity College mentors, the learning extends beyond academics to other enrichment activities and field trips. During the spring 2017 semester, mentors and mentees enjoyed cooking, a visit to the Connecticut Science Center, a scavenger hunt on campus, a chess tournament, and conversations about peer pressure, future goals, and study skills. Such activities “promote bonding and relationship building between mentors and mentees,” says Alicea. “Middle school is the age of peer pressure, puberty, and self-discovery. It can be a confusing time for adolescents. The relationships that mentors and mentees build reinforce positive behaviors, create a support system and present students with an opportunity to consider higher education as a future option.”

For the Trinity College mentors, J-Z AMP provides a valuable opportunity to develop their leadership skills while contributing to the community. Tasmiah Ahmad ’18 will begin her fourth year with the program this fall. “One of the most exciting things about being a mentor is seeing students build confidence over time,” said Ahmad. “When students realize that the hard work they put into a particular project or homework assignment paid off, they are so happy and proud of themselves.”

Kristina Miele ’19 described her work with J-Z AMP as “the most meaningful and rewarding thing I do on campus.” At a celebratory dinner this past spring, she received effusive thanks from her mentee’s family, who noted how positively the program affected him. “They were so thankful for how my mentee had grown throughout his first year in the program, and I was thankful for them and their son for making such a big impact on my school year,” Miele said.

The Jones-Zimmermann Academic Mentoring Program also operates sites at Yale University and Sacred Heart University. For more information about the program, visit or contact Beatrice Alicea at (860) 297-2160 or

Written by Ellen V. Hart