Past Alumni Spotlights

Michael Trojnar, Butler University

Why did you join College Mentors for Kids?  “I joined College Mentors for Kids because I wanted to become more involved around campus and I knew I could have an impact on area youth. I stayed involved with College Mentors because of the profound impact I saw in the at-risk youth I worked with on a weekly basis. The time commitment was not overwhelming and the impact was astounding!”

How did College Mentors for Kids prepare you for life after college?  “College Mentors for Kids prepared me for life after college by helping me with my time management skills and by providing me with the opportunity to gain some valuable leadership skills.”

What is your favorite thing about College Mentors for Kids?  “My favorite thing is seeing the dramatic change in the youth involved in the program from the beginning of the school year until the end of the school year. The children were always better behaved, more respectful of other, and were always truly excited to ‘go to college’!”

At the Butler chapter, Michael was a mentor to Brandon and Jaylan and a general manager. Michael works in Indianapolis and continues to volunteer with College Mentors for Kids as a member of College Mentors, EtC.

Michaela Martin, The Ohio State University

What is your favorite thing about College Mentors for Kids?  “Seeing how excited the Little Buddies were each and every week getting off the bus on campus. Even if I was tired or stressed out, seeing their smiles instantly brought me joy and pushed me to make the activity as fun as possible.”

What did you learn from being in College Mentors for Kids?  “I learned that we all need someone to look up to and support us. Seeing how much my Little Buddy grew from week to week inspired me to connect with someone I considered a mentor. Each week, my Little Buddy helped me take life less seriously; to laugh and share the silly joke they had to share or the funny story. Being fortunate enough to work at Ohio State, I still see some of the Little Buddies I knew when I was a student and I have learned that even the smallest gesture can have such a large impact.”

What else would you like us to know about your College Mentors for Kids experience?  “College Mentors helped shape my college career. It gave me friendships and memories that will last a lifetime. College Mentors provided me with clarification of the direction I want in my life, post-college, to take.”

Michaela participated in College Mentors for Kids from 2011-2014, serving as a mentor for little buddies Kristin and Kaela, attendance and events coordinator, and 3rd grade general manager. Now, Michaela is the Wellness Coordinator at the OSU Office of Student Life Student Wellness Center, an OSU graduate student, and a mentor in her community.

Katie Quillen, Indiana University

What is your favorite thing about College Mentors for Kids?  “I love the impact it has on both the little buddies and the college students.”

How did College Mentors for Kids prepare you for life after college?  “It has shaped how I look at the world. My little buddy taught me about life outside what I was used to. As far as my career goes, leading the organization with 100 mentors and 25 staff members enabled me to interact with a variety of personalities and gave me significant experience managing a group of people.”

Why do you continue to support College Mentors for Kids?  “The organization gave me such a sense of belonging and purpose while at IU. I want to ensure that other students have that opportunity to be connected to their campus and local community in a similar way.”

Katie volunteered at the IU chapter from 2008-2011, serving as chapter president during the 2010-11 program year. A national account manager at ConvergeOne, Katie continues volunteering for College Mentors, most recently as a member of the alumni committee for the 2017 Twentieth-Anniversary unGALA.

Jennifer Swiderski, Illinois State University

Why did you join College Mentors for Kids?  “My freshman year, I took a three week introduction course that allowed freshmen to understand the campus and allowed for an easier transition from high school to college. The instructor of this course advised all freshman to be involved in two organizations (one organization for fun and one for your major). I joined College Mentors for Kids because it sounded like an organization that would be fun to get involved in and I knew I could make a difference in the lives of others. Little did I know that joining this organization as a confused freshman would forever change my passions and lead me to the future that I am living.”

What is your favorite thing about College Mentors for Kids?  “The list of things that I love about College Mentors is endless. One of the most important things College Mentors for Kids does is it allows elementary students and college students to learn things they never knew existed. It introduces Little Buddies to things outside the world they know of and it allows college students to explore their campuses. It also allows college students to give back to their community while exposing them to different cultures and people in the community. College Mentors allows the Little Buddies to learn from their mentors and it allows mentors to learn from their Little Buddies. College Mentors for Kids prepares college students for their future by providing them with leadership opportunities and training that will help them be successful in their future. Because I attended these leadership trainings and professional development meetings through the years, I am able to bring my knowledge to my profession and relay that information to those around me.”

A two-year chapter President, Jenn also served as a mentor to little buddy Evening and a buddy family General Manager. Jenn now teaches 6th grade at Bloomington Junior High School, where she continues mentoring former little buddies now in her classroom. Featured as a College Mentors MVP & speaker at the 2017 unGALA, Jenn is a frequent College Mentors volunteer and advocate.