Meet the Mentor: Andrew Best, MA

Gender Identity & Pronouns: he/him/his
Affinity Groups: Disability Support Group
Race/Ethnicity: Hispanic
Languages: English
Hometown: Born in London, England but raised in Montclair, NJ.

BA in Psychology & Special Education – Marist College

MA in Mental Health Counseling and Behavioral Medicine – Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine.

Industry Interests: Education, Neuroscience, Neurobiology, Gulf War Illness, Research, Veterans, PTSD, Learning Differences, Mental Health.

Personal facts and hobbies:

I climbed Kilimanjaro, won silver in the varsity 8 Putrajaya Boat Race, have a Bull Dog named Mahou, hiked the Milfred trail in New Zealand, and hiked the SRKG trail in NH. Tell way to many dad jokes. Awarded a Fulbright Grant to teach English in Malaysia.

Journey: Growing up, I was diagnosed early on with ADHD and Dyslexia, which significantly impacted my ability to read. I was under the belief that I would never be able to learn or achieve the same level of education as that of my peers, friends, and family. Luckily, I had supportive teachers who helped me learn and develop tools and skills to allow me to succeed and gain acceptance to a 4-year college. I attended Marist College, where I quickly hit another obstacle. Unlike middle school and high school, College was a completely different environment. My first and second years were terrible; I was failing and had no idea what I wanted to study. I believed I didn’t need accommodation or help and just wanted to feel “normal.” It wasn’t until the end of my sophomore year that a professor of mine sat me down and told me, “There is no such thing as normal; we all learn differently, and sometimes we will have to work twice as hard as others, but it will all pay off in the end.” He went on to introduce me to the Psychology and Special Education program and help reconnect me with the services my university had to offer. Then, all of a sudden, it all clicked. Yes, I had to work twice as hard as my peers to achieve the exact grade, but I was doing it. I was succeeding not just academically but overall. That same professor went on to tell me I should go ahead and apply for a Fulbright… with two weeks left till the deadline. I did, and I got it!
After I graduated from Marist, I went on to teach English in Malaysia on a Fulbright. There, I got to travel and experience different cultures across Asia. I went from getting lost in Bangkok, Thailand, to being in the streets of Hong Kong during the protests. All that hard work had paid off. Of course, during my time overseas, some other experiences led me to realize I wanted to return to school and obtain my Master’s in counseling. I learned the connection between learning and mental health was so important. I attended BU’s Masters in Mental Health Counseling and Behavioral Medicine as I was about to start my program when COVID hit. Right then, I knew I would need to use my resources and be ok with asking for help. I did that; I spoke with the accommodation’s office and received accommodations that helped me succeed and thrive in the program. I also talked to the fantastic, supportive faculty who helped guide me during tough times. I graduated with my Master’s in 2022, something my younger self never thought possible. I plan to go back to school once again to obtain my Ph.D. and eventually teach and help support students who are facing similar obstacles as I did.