–submitted by Mary Thompson; photos by Dennis Cooley
Photo 1: from left, Jose Rodriguez, Mary Thompson, Cynthia Maduka & Liliana Teniente; Photo 2: from left: Ryia Steps, Moses Altsech, Brett Stratton, Jason Beren & Teresa Holmes
With record attendance, over 60 Rotary Scholars and Mentors joined the Winter Mixer event on January 3, 2018. While mentors and scholars swapped stories, I wanted to learn how the Rotary Scholar/Mentor program had influenced them.
The importance of relationships was the overarching theme. Melanie Ramey’s scholar, Matida Bojang (UW–Milwaukee Pre-Pharmacy) shared that this program is making her dreams come true. Ryia Steps (Alcorn State Psychology) connected on many levels with her mentor, Teresa Holmes. They love coffee and talk about everything. Jose Rodriguez (UW Madison Psychology) has forged a relationship with Rob Van den Berg; Liliana Teniente’s (UW Madison Biology) mentor, Dennis Cooley gave her books to read such as “Grit–a Story in Perseverance.” Donna Beestman’s scholar, Reyna Groff (UW Madison Art) shared she enjoys meeting with someone outside of school. Rahim Ansari (UW Madison Chemical Engineering) met his mentor, Stan Kitson, through Memorial High School’s Interact program. Stan commented that he can’t wait to see where he goes! And my scholar, Cynthia Maduka (UW Milwaukee Communications) has been introduced to a Milwaukee newscaster to further Cynthia’s career in broadcasting.
Photo 1: Dom Petty & Stacy Nemeth; Photo 2: from left: Leen Bnyat, Melanie Ramey, Matida Bojang, Hannah Kwiatkowski & Sarah Best
The highlight of the program occurred when co-chairs Cheryl Wittke and Ellie Schatz called for introductions. It was an impressive group of scholars ranging in majors from STEM to the liberal arts and everything in between. Teresita Torrence from Madison College explained the resources available to students in their student development center. Bob Shumaker reminded everyone to follow the Madison Rotary Mentor-Scholar Facebook (FB) page; Linda Baldwin offered $10 tickets to the Overture Center for the Arts by signing up through the Club 10 link on the FB page; and Dean Nelson announced the Summer Picnic on July 1.
Photo 1: from left: Becky Steinhoff, Jana Hvorat & Joy Gander; Photo 2: from left: Tenzin Kunsel, Jim Christensen, Eddie Larson & Majid Sarmadi
The group adjourned to the Rotary meeting for more conversation and Charlie Sykes’ presentation.
For more photos, visit our Madison Rotary Mentor-Scholar Group on Facebook.
Our Madison Rotary Foundation awards college scholarship assistance to 25 students per year to assist them during their four years of college, so we have 100 scholars in college each year. Nearly all of our scholars are connected to a Rotary member who serves as a mentor during their college years. Since many students are on break this week, we invited scholars to attend our Rotary luncheon on January 3. It was a great opportunity to check-in with our scholars, and they had a chance to connect with their Rotary mentors. We enjoyed hosting our scholars and wish them all the best as they head back to college later this month. Our thanks to Dean Nelson, Ellie Schatz and Cheryl Wittke for organizing this gathering of scholars and mentors just before our Rotary luncheon.