College’s Women’s Mentoring program hosts final event of the year

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This event was hosted by the Office of Community Engagement and held in Sadler Center. COURTESY PHOTO// WILLIAM AND MARY

Tuesday, April 16, the College of William and Mary’s Women’s Mentoring program held its end of the year ceremony, inviting student protégés and their mentors to celebrate as the program wrapped up its seventh year.  

WM2 co-founder and Office of Community Engagement Assistant Director Elizabeth Miller ’11 reflected on the nurturing nature of the student-mentor relationships and its importance for women.  

“For me, what this program taps into is how much more powerful two is, that when you put two women in a room, you get a lot more done,” Miller said. “And the question[s] of how you’re going to get it done and why you’re going to get it done get answered because there are two women working together. 

“For me, what this program taps into is how much more powerful two is, that when you put two women in a room, you get a lot more done,” Miller said. “And the question[s] of how you’re going to get it done and why you’re going to get it done get answered because there are two women working together. 

Miller noted how the mentorship program can help women students navigate questions they might pose to themselves in their academic, professional and personal lives, like whether they’re the only or first ones to do something, or whether they feel they’re being too shy or talkative.  

“All of those questions that, when you’re asking them as a single one, can be really scary and overwhelming,” Miller said. “But when you add one more person, and particularly another woman to that conversation, I think it really transforms it into a lot of support and change rather than [with] just one brain.”  

The program, which was conceived in February 2012 and launched that fall, ended its seventh year on the heels of the College’s 100th anniversary of coeducation, which Miller attributes as the foundation for mentorship at the College.  

“You also get to tap into the power of those kinds of relationships that have been happening for more than 100 years on this campus,” Miller said.  

WM2 co-founder and Office of Community Engagement Director Melody Porter said she appreciated the organic relationships that the program helps create by pairing protégés with mentors. 

“We don’t always know that we’re making the right matches, Porter said. “We do our best. But sometimes its really the right match for both sides and they learned so much from each other and stay in touch for years afterwards. And that shows the power of that relationship.” 

“We don’t always know that we’re making the right matches, Porter said. “We do our best. But sometimes its really the right match for both sides and they learned so much from each other and stay in touch for years afterwards. And that shows the power of that relationship.” 

Molly McCue ’20, whose mentor is economics professor Sarah Stafford, said she heard of the program through Student Happenings and wanted to try it out to help shape her career path. 

“You can never have too many mentor figures in your life,” McCue said. “So that was kind of the motivation for me because, well, I have a lot of questions about what I’m going to do after college, and it’s always nice to have someone you can talk to about those things, like what’s going on in your life.” 

Stafford, who has been at the College for over 20 years, said that mentoring provided her a different way to connect with students who are pursuing majors outside of her discipline.  

“I work mostly with students who are [in] economics or public policy, so I thought it would be really cool to get to know somebody who’s in a different field and has a different perspective,” Stafford said. “… You don’t feel weird about getting to know [protégés] more socially.” 

MarshallWythe School of Law Assistant Dean of Admissions Lauren Jordan M.Ed ’17 said she joined WM2 because she wanted to pursue more mentorship roles with students, which she credits to her previous experience as a mentor during her master’s studies at the College.  

“I wanted to make sure that I was maintaining a connection to the undergraduate campus and maintaining involvement that would give me some professional development opportunities,” Jordan said.  

Jordan’s protégé, Madeline Brown ’21, said that while she is very involved in campus life, she had not enjoyed as much of a chance to develop more personal relationships. Brown applied to the mentorship program to remedy that.  

“I was really excited to have a relationship with someone,” Brown said. “… I think I’ve seen a lot of growth in the goals that I set before this experience [in the program] and have been more self reflective in what my goals are, so I’d definitely say it was a positive experience.” 

As a prospective law school student, Brown said pairing up with Jordan helped in her navigating internship, networking and resume-building opportunities.  

“[I’ve been] reflecting on what I can do with a law degree and what my options are like and I’ve discovered that was just more than working in a big firm — there are a lot of other options that I have,” Brown said.  

Jordan said WM2 provided her an opportunity to be more connected to the undergraduate campus in a way she did not have as an undergraduate herself seeking out mentors.  

“I didn’t have a program like this that allowed me opportunities to be mentored by anybody, but certainly by another woman,” Jordan said. “… Because so many of our students want to maintain a high level of involvement over their time [here], I wanted to make sure that I had an opportunity to at least reach out to any student who felt like they may need help in whatever way that looked like for them.” 

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Madeline Monroe is a senior at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, where she studies English and serves as News Editor of the The Flat Hat. She formerly served as Associate News Editor. Her passions, aside from writing and wildlife, include cooking, art and traveling. She worked as a Community Engagement Intern at the Jane Goodall Institute in Vienna, Virginia, and has had her poetry published in Z Publishing House's Virginia's Best Emerging Poets.