Shatiera Porte’e ’06 believes that with the right encouragement, every one of us can realize our potential so that, as she shares, “we can walk in our purpose with passion.”
That wasn’t how her Bloomfield College story began, however. “In high school I thought about becoming a teacher or a pediatrician, but I didn’t have a lot of confidence in my academic abilities,” she says. “I needed to take remedial classes that first year at Bloomfield. I had to work hard to prove to myself that I could succeed in college. I got good grades – even in science, which I didn’t think I could pass!”
“In my second year I took an introductory psychology course,” Porte’e continues. “We covered statistics and research methods as well as the clinical aspects of the field. The professors were tough, and I loved how I was stretching and growing.”
Once Porte’e decided on psychology as her major, she began to come out of her shell in other ways as well.
“I had never been away from home before,” she says. “After class I would go right back to my room, and I was going home every weekend. Everyone at Bloomfield – my professors, administrators and classmates – encouraged me to get out and get involved.”
Porte’e joined the Psychology Club and Psi Chi, the honor society for psychology majors. She also took as many internships as possible. “I got experience in a wide variety of settings, from a nearby nursing home to Covenant House in Newark,” she recalls. “I began to understand that a degree in psychology could take your career in many different directions.”
By her senior year, Porte’e was serving as president of the Psychology Club, accepting awards for her hard work, and preparing for graduate school. “I had great mentors at Bloomfield,” she says. “Support was always available, whether that meant career counseling or tutoring to get ready to take the GRE exam.”
After completing her graduate work in psychological counseling at Monmouth University, Porte’e embarked on a career that illustrates the breadth of opportunities available in her profession. Her early roles include psychiatric screener at Kimball Medical Center and clinical therapist at Meridian Health and VisionQuest National. As a qualified mental health professional for MEDIKO PC, she worked with inmates suffering from psychiatric and substance abuse issues.
In 2015, Porte’e transitioned to education, joining the Union County TEAMS Charter School as a high school career and leadership counselor and rising to the role of director of student services and curriculum. She became a fierce advocate for mental wellness and saw the need to help students find their voice. She wanted to do more than her current role would allow.
“I am certified in New Jersey as a school counselor,” she notes. “So many parents were reaching out to me for resources and other assistance. I wanted to serve but no longer wanted to be limited to a single mental health agency or school district. I wanted to use my expertise to fulfill my passion for helping youth and families around the world.”
She left her school-based job to create A Dope Girl Vision, a program to empower young women through self-discovery, networking and – of course – mentorship. In 2021 she launched School Counselor on Wheels, LLC and the signature “Blossoming Within” program, with the goal of helping thousands of girls around the world feel good about themselves. In addition, Porte’e provides expressive writing classes for middle- and high school students through Project Write Now.
Last year she published I Forgive Myself For Forgetting Myself to bring her message of self-love and self-acceptance to an even wider audience. “It takes you through a self-help journaling process,” she explains. “I want to help people through a healing journey and show them how to walk in their own unique purpose.”
Since the book was released, Porte’e has traveled nationally and internationally, presenting to hundreds of audiences through panel discussions, retreats, workshops, podcasts and radio programs. In 2023 Porte’e completed the Goldman Sachs One Million Black Women: Black in Business program and received the New Educator of the Year Educator Excellence Award from the State of Black Learning. She is a member of the National Alliance of Black School Educators and next month she will lead a mastermind program and host “Affirming Black Women’s Well Being”, self-love and well-being for girls and women of color at Brookdale Community College.
Mentorship, and Bloomfield College, remain priorities in Porte’e’s life. She gave generously of her time last year to help the alumni association recruit volunteer mentors and speakers to inspire the next generation of students. She is quick to note that you don’t have to make a huge commitment of time to have a big impact. “Even a few minutes of conversation can make an enormous difference in how a student sees their future,” she says. “You might be surprised at what you can learn and take away from the experience as well.”
“Bloomfield College saved my life when I was ready to give up,” she adds. “The people at Bloomfield gave me a community away from home and mentored me so that I am now able to mentor others. It is exciting to show students what life can look like when you open yourself up to mentoring and networking.”