Dedicated to Helping Children, Psychology Graduate is “Vincentian at Heart”
Even as a child, Scott Mesh ’92Ph.D. was attracted to leadership roles—as a Boy Scout, a camp counselor, even a babysitter. Today, Mesh draws upon his ability to mentor others as executive director of one of New York City’s most prominent child services agencies.
“I learned early on in life that I was a pretty good leader,” said Mesh, who is the co-founder and executive director of Los Niños Services, a multilingual agency providing home care services for children with special needs. “But it wasn’t until college that I became interested in psychology. I had always thought it was too ‘fluffy’ for me. But as a freshman, I took an organizational psychology class and everything changed.”
Mesh ultimately decided to major in psychology, earning his bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan before pursuing a doctoral degree at St. John’s University. “I always felt like I was in the right place at St. John’s,” he recalled. “My experience there helped me develop the critical thinking skills I use to this day as CEO. A lot of my time is spent meeting and managing, and the training I got from St. John’s is extremely helpful.”
While at St. John’s, Mesh co-founded the American Psychological Association of Graduate Students (APAGS). He received encouragement in the endeavor from Virginia Staudt Sexton, Ph.D., distinguished professor of psychology. “I had this crazy idea that there should be a national psychology graduate student association,” said Mesh. “We were at a conference, and Dr. Sexton literally pushed me toward Raymond Fowler, Ph.D., who was president of the American Psychological Association, to tell him about my idea.” Fowler was receptive, and today APAGS has approximately 33,000 members.
It was not the last organization that Mesh would establish. In 1998, he co-founded Los Niños to create a multilingual agency that would consistently provide excellence especially in treating underserved children. “I was convinced this was something our society desperately needed in social services,” he said.
In his role as Executive Director of Los Niños, Mesh employs a hands-on approach to coaching a team of more than 400 employees and consultants. “By helping our staff learn and grow, I’m helping children to do the same,” he said. “While I do miss working directly with children and their families, through Los Niños, I can help 1,500 a year instead of just 50.”
Mesh is also extremely proud of the workplace atmosphere he fosters at Los Niños. In fact, the agency has won several “Best Places to Work” awards for its dedication to employees. “To this day,” he observed, “the core values of St. John’s really resonate with me. I happen to be Jewish, but you could say I’m a Vincentian at heart. The most important thing at St. John’s is being of great service to others. And all these years later, I’m living that mission.”