April’s Mentor of the Month: Andrea Solomon CC'87
Congratulations to Andrea Solomon CC'87 for being selected as our Mentor of the Month for April. Andrea received her B.A. in Urban Studies from Columbia and her Ph.D. in English from University of California, Berkeley. She is now the Vice Dean of Columbia's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. She is a mentor on the Odyssey platform and has mentored a handful of students through the program.
Interview with Andrea Solomon CC'87
Have you connected with students during the Covid-19 pandemic? If so, what has the experience been like?
Through Odyssey, I have connected with a first-year living in John Jay and with a senior in East Campus. I volunteered because I knew students are so much more isolated this year, and I hoped to be a friendly face to add to their network of support. It has been absolutely lovely to get to know them a bit. Such bright, thoughtful, complex people – it makes one proud to be part of the same Columbia.
What have you gained from being connecting with these students and alums?
Unexpectedly, perhaps, feeling responsible to these women and to the program made me feel more a part of the Columbia community than ever before. Although I hope this particular year's sense of isolation is singular, I look forward to being a mentor again.
What advice would you give a student or young alum looking for a mentor?
Be open. A mentor might not match your major, or be from your part of the world or have a spare job for you in their back pocket, but if they care enough to want to give back, that is what will buoy you.
Did you have mentors during your time at the College? If so, could you share a bit about them?
I did. Three, as a matter of face. One dear friend (a College alumnus in his first year in SIPA, who got me to read the newspaper carefully and put the first year of college in perspective); one professor (the late, great Ted Taylor, who helped me cultivate and trust my intellectual instincts); and one dean (the peerless Roger Lehecka '67, GSAS '74, who, with humor and kindness helped me find more productive ways to be a rabble-rouser).
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.