November's Mentor of the Month: Chi Adanna Mgbako CC'01

Left: Chi Adanna Mgbako CC'01 on Class Day. Right: Current photo of Chi Adanna Mgbako CC'01.

Congratulations to Chi Adanna Mgbako CC'01, as November 2019 Mentor of the Month. Mgbako studied History during her time at Columbia. She is now a clinical professor of Law and the Director of the Walter Leitner International Human Rights Clinic at Fordham Law School. She has participated in the Odyssey Mentoring Program and has mentored a number of students on the platform.

Interview with Chi Adanna Mgbako CC'01

How many people have you connected with and mentored (either long term or one-off conversations) through the Odyssey Mentoring Program?

Four — and I loved speaking with all of them.

What have you gained from being a mentor?

I am so grateful for my time at Columbia: for the enduring and intimate friendships I made, the delicious books I read, the wonderful debates I had, the brilliant professors I learned from and the strengthening of my social justice conscience. But I also recognize that the college years can be a time of confusion, and many struggle to figure out who and how they want to be in the world. It’s been wonderful to speak with current and recently graduated students and share what is, I hope, my wisdom about how to get the most out of the Columbia experience and how to create a career path that is about fulfillment and creating a life that is in line with your values.

What advice you would give a student looking for a mentor?

Look for a mentor who can help you identify the things that inspire, challenge and fulfill you. Someone who is not just interested in helping you attain superficial markers of success but is also interested in helping you reflect on how you can build a career that nurtures your life and sense of purpose. There’s a wonderful line in a Mary Oliver poem: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” I think the best mentors can help you honestly reflect on that urgent — and liberating — question.

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.