April’s Mentee of the Month: Sofia Downing CC'24

Congratulations to Sofia Downing CC'24 for being selected as our Mentee of the Month for April. Sofia is a first-year majoring in Economics and Urban Studies.  She is a member of Columbia Nourish, Students Exploring Whiteness, Columbia Mentoring Initiative, Columbia Global Though Experience and a Wellness Day Ambassador. 

Interview with Sofia Downing CC'24

Have you connected with alumni during the pandemic? If so, what has that experience been like? 
Yes. Connecting with alumni during the Covid-19 pandemic has been helpful and eye-opening because they provided me with advice on making important decisions in the pandemic context. For examples, when sharing my plans to conduct research during the summer, my mentor encouraged me to develop two alternative projects due to the uncertainty of where I will be located in the summer.
What advice would you give to an alum who is looking to mentor a student? 
Let your mentee know they are in a safe space and that they can be themselves! Sometimes, students feel obliged to appear to be flawless and say all the "right" things to their mentor, often not getting their questions or concerns through. Intentionally creating a safe space could change this!
What has been most helpful about connecting with alumni?

Receiving specific advice related to my concerns and projects. For example, my mentor volunteered to give me feedback on a research project I will develop in the summer. 
What has been most surprising about connecting with and hearing from alumni?

That my mentor had similar experiences despite having been a Columbia student a long time ago. 

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.