"Embrace rituals and traditions in times of transition!" Marsin Alshamary, WCS Class of 2009, shared incredibly apt advice for the Class of 2021 at this year's Mentor Day Breakfast.
Mentor Day poses an opportunity each February for WCS seniors to connect with professionals in the Wichita workforce in their desired fields of study. It's a perfect glimpse into a potential degree or career path ahead of college and a great networking opportunity.
While COVID-19 made a typical breakfast unmanageable, WCS couldn't let this three-decades-long tradition slip by for the Class of 2021 as students move closer to one of their first big life transitions. Lisa Schooler, Director of Alumni & Parent Relations, worked closely with the WCS Alumni Board to connect our 75 seniors with mentors. Instead of viewing the need for virtual vs. in-person as a negative, Schooler and the Board turned it into a positive and were able to match seniors specifically with professionals in Wichita and from coast to coast and around the world. Sixty-nine of the 75 mentors are alumni themselves. "Going virtual opened up so many doors and connections to occupations that don't exist in Wichita," Schooler said.
Marsin Alshamary '09 served as the keynote speaker and, herself, Zoomed all the way from Baghdad, Iraq. Alshamary is currently a research fellow with the Brookings Institution working on American foreign policy in the Middle East. She shared her experiences and insights with wit and humor while senior students ate breakfast and listened in via Zoom. In addition to her call for us all to embrace traditions now more than ever, Alshamary shared the following advice:
- Never let injustice cripple you.
- Be kind and understand everyone has a struggle you may not see.
- Discover your comparative advantage and never apologize for using it.
- The best use of your knowledge is to spread it and share it with humanity.
- Embrace failure, take time to grieve it, then find humor in it and seek out advice to be better.
With those words still in mind, seniors left breakfast to meet with each of their mentors (mostly virtually). Seniors and mentors alike thoroughly enjoyed the day and appreciated the opportunity to connect with the school and one another.
"I just wanted to let you know how very impressed I was with my mentee," Tracy Gardner '00, Head of Label Licensing & Partnerships at TikTok, wrote. "He was extremely well spoken, polite, and clearly had done his homework on TikTok. Great to see the Collegiate tradition of excellence continuing."
"Thank you for asking me to be a mentor this year," Linda Bean '92, Chief Medical Officer at the Community Health Center of SE Kansas, wrote. "I really appreciate that WCS has continued this program - it is such a benefit. WCS continues to be such a wonderful school with so many opportunities for our students!"
"Thank you so much for putting Mentor Day together," Johanna Yang '21 wrote. "I so enjoyed my time and the connections I have made are invaluable!"
Thank you to Alshamary and the 75 mentors for making WCS' 31st Annual Mentor Day a success and a tradition worth continuing!