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Alumni News

By: By ErinNicole Conti '18 | Published: November 17, 2017 | Categories: Alumni

President Caprio and Two Alumnae Honored by Mass Mentoring Partnership

martinez caprio

The Mass Mentoring Partnership (MMP) recently honored President Anthony S. Caprio, Sarah Shugrue ’08 and Denise Cogman ’93 as “Difference Makers” in the past decade. At a cocktail party in the Springfield Museums on November 8, the three were among 23 western Massachusetts honorees recognized for contributions to MMP’s establishment and growth in providing caring supports for young people.

President Caprio’s involvement with MMP stretches back two decades. A longtime champion of mentoring, he served as a board member of MMP from 2001 until 2010. Western New England University even housed MMP’s western Massachusetts office from 2007 to 2011.

Sarah Shugrue, currently a program officer for the Greater Worcester Community Foundation, spent almost four years with MMP as a manager. She discovered the urge to help others as a young girl, accompanying her grandmother on Senior Companion volunteer visits.

At Western New England, Sarah held her first mentoring and leadership role as a Peer Advisor. She was also the president of C.A.R.E. (Community Action Rewards Everyone), the student-organized community service club. “Building relationships with first year students, helping them navigate issues, and seeing them grow was really exciting for me,” she said.

Denise Cogman is the president and chief executive officer of Springfield School Volunteers, a nonprofit that serves the Springfield Public School System and is a member of MMP's statewide network. Every year, more than 2,000 volunteers give individual attention to students in the Springfield Public Schools, serving as mentors and tutors and providing encouragement and motivation.

Through the organization, Denise combines her interest in education, her BSW in social work, and her passion to improve young lives. “There is something about that one-to-one caring, adult relationship that makes a big difference in the life of a child,” she said.

Denise attended Western New England because she was impressed as a high school student by a social work conference held on campus. Since then, the University has only increased its mentoring outreach.

Western New England University has recently been expanding its mentoring influence in the Springfield community through its growing partnership with nearby Duggan Academy, a school for students in grades 6 to 12.

In the last several years, Western New England students have increasingly connected with Duggan students, gaining valuable mentoring skills and experience while inspiring the next generation of students.

There are also opportunities for alumni to mentor Western New England University students: the Sophomore Career Connections program links sophomores with alumni in the greater Springfield area for mentoring and job shadowing. Another program, Alumni Links for Career Success, enables seniors to network with College of Business alumni, who also mentor students in the annual RealTest Event. There are also dedicated mentoring programs in Engineering and Law.

Those interested in mentoring students can contact Katie DeBeer, director of alumni engagement, at or 413-782-1478.