July’s Mentee of the Month: Ninad Nirgudkar CC'20

Congratulations to Ninad Nirgudkar CC'20 for being selected as our Mentee of the Month for July. Ninad is an Astrophysics and Applied Mathematics major who is involved with the Columbia Undergraduate Recruitment Committee, Delta Sigma Phi Fraternity, Columbia Organization of Rising Entrepreneurs and the Columbia Undergraduate Science Journal. He has connected with his mentor as part of the Odyssey Summer Match program.

Interview with Ninad Nirgudkar CC'20

What has your Summer Match program experience been like?

I’ve had the chance to really get to know my mentor through phone calls and emails. She’s offered me great advice about how to approach my current internship and what things to think about as I chart out the final year of my college career. I’ve been blown away by the level of engagement from her and her willingness to really be an ally and sounding board for all of the decisions I have to make in the coming year.

What advice would you give an alum who is looking to mentor a student?

The most important thing I’ve found is a willingness to share feedback that might cause your mentee to challenge some of their ideas or preconceived notions of what they want to do. I’ve found it most helpful when my mentor has said to me, “You’re telling me you’re really interested in doing X, but you’re talking so much about Y. Have you really considered where your passions lie?” or asking probing questions like, “Tell me what really led you to do this activity/take this job/accept this internship.” A good mentor is not only available and committed but also helps you really think through your motivations for doing something.

What has been the most helpful part of being a mentee?

Being paired with someone whose career path is similar to mine. My mentor worked in a similar role out of college, went on to further education in a field I’m interested in and has a treasure trove of knowledge that is helping guide me through my decisions. Her experiences and stories helped me prepare for my internship this summer and have made me a better contributor to the team I’m on.

What has been most surprising about being a mentee?

How apt the matching process is! I didn’t think my mentor would be so similar to me in terms of career goals and aspirations, and she has been one of the best resources I’ve ever had. The process was super easy, and within a week of signing up, I was matched. I honestly didn’t think I’d use the platform as much as I do.

About the Odyssey Mentoring Program

The Odyssey Mentoring Program (OMP) was founded on the belief that Columbia College students and alumni want to support one another, share stories and encourage one another’s success, thus creating a strong and tight-knit community. The College has more than 50,000 alumni working in myriad careers and around the country. OMP makes it possible for community members to connect in a variety of ways, from an email exchange to in-person meetings and small group gatherings.