Macara joined College Mentors for Kids, originally as a program director, in 2007. Her passion for helping others quickly narrowed to focus on children who were potential first generation college students, as she is. She loves that at College Mentors she has a positive impact on the lives of thousands of children and college students each year. Both Macara and her husband are graduates of Purdue University. They enjoy spending time together with their three young children and participating in sports and outdoor activities.
“College Mentors quickly became not just my job, but a major part of my life. I feel fulfilled and excited to work each day, knowing that the impact our program has is positively changing the life trajectory for thousands!”
Jabari joined the College Mentors team in July 2019 as AmeriCorps Vista. He graduated from IUPUI with a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership and with minors in Human Resources Management and Psychology. He grew up in Indianapolis and is a big Colts fan. Through mentoring in college and coaching youth sports teams he has developed a deep appreciation for the impact mentoring and is excited to join in College Mentors mission to inspire growth, confidence, and brighter futures!
“College Mentors helps kids see past their current situation to see their endless possibilities. I am excited to join this organization.”
Zach joined the College Mentors team in July 2019 as an AmeriCorps Vista. He recently graduated from DePauw University with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Religious Studies. In college, Zach competed as a distance runner for the DePauw University Cross Country and Track & Field teams. He is passionate about using his talents for the betterment of others. In the summer of 2017, Zach spent fifty days running relay-style across the United States to raise money for the Ulman Foundation through their 4K for Cancer program. Now, Zach is excited to use his abilities as a researcher and writer to support the thousands of mentors and little buddies making a positive impact on one another each year.
“I enjoy working with College Mentors for Kids because the organization truly finds inspiration in the youth it serves. An emphasis on dual impact programs recognizes that college students also have something meaningful to gain from the relationship with their little buddy. Often times, children are wiser than adults. I believe all mentors can learn from their little buddies. Even the College Mentor for Kid’s core value ‘awesomeness is everything we do’ seems, in essence, child-like. I think this attitude is exactly what makes the small, passionate staff here at College Mentors so impactful”.
National Director of Programming
Julie Bowman joined College Mentors for Kids in 2012. After graduating from Indiana University with a degree in finance and international business, she spent a year in the corporate world gaining business experience. Julie loves to travel, eat at local restaurants, play strategy board games & camp games, and spend time at her church, St. John the Evangelist! One of Julie’s favorite parts about College Mentors is the dual impact! She loves that the kids in our program spend time each week with a caring adult and learn about opportunities for their future, while the young adults who serve as mentors and chapter leaders develop invaluable philanthropic leadership, and career skills.
“Research shows that positive adult relationships are one of the key predictors of a child’s future success. College Mentors for Kids empowers college students to be those positive adult relationships to children in need of such an influence. I love that College Mentors for Kids improves communities in the Midwest by simultaneously empowering and inspiring children and young adults through its mentoring program.”
National Director of Development
Katie Brownlee joined College Mentors for Kids in 2019 after spending several years fundraising in higher education, then the arts and culture sector. Katie is an IU chapter alumna and served as a mentor, then later as chapter president. She obtained a Master of Public Affairs from the Paul H. O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs with a concentration in nonprofit management. Katie and her husband Collin live in Indianapolis and enjoy spending their time exploring nature and cooking.
“I love being a part of such a special organization. On a personal level, College Mentors inspired me to change my career path as an undergraduate student and sparked a lifelong joy of community involvement. It is amazing to watch the program grow and see the impact of the relationships between so many college students and kids.”
National Director of Operations
Passionate about youth and education, Erin joined College Mentors in August 2011 after graduating from Butler University with a dual degree in International Management and International Studies, as well as a minor in Spanish. Growing up, Erin spent her summers picking sweet corn on her families farm. Now, Erin is excited to work with an organization committed to making a difference in the lives of children across the Midwest.
“I initially joined College Mentors for Kids because I believed education was a way for kids living in poverty to rise above their current circumstances and appreciated the way College Mentors activities enhanced kids’ education. I still believe these things are true, but after being here 7 years I have come to experience the power of mentoring on both the kids AND the college students. Both expand their perspectives on the world, learn about new opportunities they may not have otherwise experienced, understand the importance of giving back, and inspire each other to reach their fullest potential.”
Associate Director of Programming
Carly joined the College Mentors team in September 2017 after spending several years in the education field. She graduated from Ball State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education with a concentration in Kindergarten/Primary Education. Carly and her husband Austin live in Indianapolis and enjoy spending their time outdoors, watching documentaries, and learning about new and exciting parts of our world!
“I am passionate about making a difference in a community and I am thrilled to be a part of the College Mentors for Kids team! What drew me to College Mentors was their enthusiasm for making difference in a child’s life. By connecting college students and children, they have created a unique program with the ability to change lives. I am so happy to be included in this journey!”
Laura Feldman Mishkin,
National Director of Corporate and Foundation Development
Laura Feldman Mishkin joined College Mentors for Kids in 2005 were she served first as an AmeriCorps VISTA. Laura earned her Bachelor’s degree in sociology at Wellesley College in Massachusetts, and her MPA from Indiana University in Indianapolis. She and her family now live in Austin, Texas, where they enjoy spending time outside. Laura was excited to join an organization with such a meaningful mission and loves being a part of a team that makes work a joy!
“I enjoy the combined approach to mentoring and college access as well as working with a young and growing organization.”
Director of Enhancement and Engagement
Carina Grainey joined College Mentors for Kids in January 2014 after spending several years in South Korea working as a foreign language instructor. She graduated from the University of Northern Colorado with a dual degree in communications and journalism and recently received a master’s degree in international development from Yonsei University. Carina is passionate about providing youth with the tools they need to succeed and thrilled to join the College Mentors for Kids team.
“The enthusiasm that everyone connected with College Mentors for Kids exudes is incredibly inspiring. By cultivating a link between college students and kids, this program has created something truly special with enormous potential to transform lives and communities. I am so excited to be a part of the story.”
Shelley joined the College Mentors for Kids family in 2008 first as a board member and later as CEO in 2016. She received her B.A. in English Literature from DePauw University and her M.A. in Philanthropic Studies from the Lilly School of Philanthropy at Indiana University. Shelley loves to watch Jeopardy and gets especially excited when the following categories are selected: state capitals, sports, and literature. It was Shelley’s passion for education that drove her to become involved with College Mentors as a volunteer. Now as CEO, she is excited to spearhead development and community engagement efforts to reach our 2020 goal of serving 5,000 kids and 5,000 college students.
“College Mentors is important because it opens the doors to higher education for young people who may not have even considered the possibility of attending college and succeeding.”
Development Director of Mid-Atlantic Region
Stephanie was first introduced to the College Mentors program in January 2010 as a mentor to a Bloomington, Indiana fourth grader and has since had the pleasure of serving in many roles with College Mentors as both a volunteer and staff member. Stephanie lives in Washington, DC where she works to build support and awareness for the College Mentors for Kids program in the Mid-Atlantic region.
“College Mentors for Kids provides elementary students a vision for their future and college students leadership experience and the opportunity to connect with their community. I love being involved with an organization that facilitates meaningful mentoring relationships with proven outcomes and working with staff and volunteers dedicated to providing children and college students the resources and experiences to realize a bigger and brighter future!”
Chief Operating Officer
Looking for an opportunity to give back to the community, Amanda Koushyar joined College Mentors as a program director in January 2005 and now serves as Chief Operating Officer. A native of Georgia, Amanda graduated from Georgia Institute of Technology with a degree in management and a focus in finance and operation management. Amanda currently resides in Indiana with her husband and two little girls.
“I am touched on a daily basis with stories from mentors and children and how College Mentors has impacted them. I feel lucky to have the opportunity to be involved in something so special! The passion of our volunteers is contagious and seeing the program in action is so rewarding!”
Program Operations Americorps Vista
Sarah joined the College Mentors team in July of 2019, after graduating with her B.S. in Communication Studies from Ball State University. Sarah originally joined College Mentors for Kids as a college student volunteer for Ball State’s chapter, serving from three years total in various different roles. Sarah has always loved working with children, whether that be her former little buddy Madi, other little buddies that visited Ball State’s campus, or throughout her previous work as a summer camp counselor. This love for youth work is what drove her to serve one year in the Program Operations VISTA position, where she will be working with the programming and operations teams and seeing more of the behind-the-scenes of what makes this program possible. In her spare time, Sarah enjoys all things social media and is developing a new-found love for podcasts and attempting to cook.
“Working with the little buddies was always the highlight of my week in college and I’m so grateful to get to spend more time with the organization!”
Senior Associate Director of Programming
Cody was absolutely ecstatic to join the College Mentors National Staff in 2016! He graduated from Virginia Tech in May of 2016 with a B.S. in Psychology and served as the founding chapter president of College Mentors for Kids at Virginia Tech during its first year and a half of existence on campus in Blacksburg. Cody has been a semi-professional DJ since 2011 and has opened for major artists, including T-Pain, Fetty Wap, and Sammy Adams. Native to Ridgeway, VA, he grew up in his local 4-H program and has worked with youth in multiple capacities focusing on leadership, life skills, and STEM-based initiatives. He’s so excited to continue his journey in youth development with his position on our team.
“I became a part of College Mentors for Kids because it became clear to me over all my years working with children that youth in our country don’t have many consistent or strong advocates. We all want “what’s best,” but that phrase does not have a universal meaning. College Mentors for Kids is dedicated to teaching kids how to think for themselves instead of what to think or making decisions for them and I believe that is an invaluable, incredible service. Children see the magic in the world because they look for it and we all have the amazing opportunity to be magicians.”
Emily Meyer joined the College Mentors team after graduating from Indiana University, Bloomington in 2005. As an undergraduate majoring in English, Emily spent three years volunteering for the university’s College Mentors chapter. After having lived it as a college student volunteer for the program at IU, I feel blessed to work in a fun, energizing, and supportive work environment with the best people in the world, doing the best work possible. Natives of Indianapolis, Emily and her husband Jack have known each other since elementary school and have four young kids: John, Thomas, Rose, and Mae. Emily’s oldest and youngest share a birthday, exactly six years apart.
“I love working for College Mentors because of all of the amazing people I get to interact with each day. From our dedicated university and school partners to our inspirational college students and children as well as our hardworking and enthusiastic headquarters staff and board, I continue to be inspired by the work and accomplishments of those involved with College Mentors for Kids.”
Associate Director of Programming
Madalyn joined the College Mentors National Office team in July of 2018. She graduated from University of Virginia in May of 2018 with a dual degree in foreign affairs and economics. At the University of Virginia chapter with College Mentors, Madalyn served first as a mentor before subsequently holding various leadership positions throughout her four years as an undergraduate student. Having lived in Virginia her whole life – outside of a semester abroad in Berlin during the fall of her third year – Madalyn is super excited to create a life here in Indianapolis and embrace all that the city has to offer!
“Seeing how much the UVA chapter grew and evolved over just four years convinced me that this program is something very special. I’m excited to help further the impact of College Mentors on communities across the country!”
Associate Director of Operations
After serving a year as an AmeriCorps Development VISTA for College Mentors for Kids in 2017, Miranda was thrilled to become a permanent fixture of a team dedicated to creating a better present and future. Native to Indiana, Miranda graduated from Indiana University with a degree in Nonprofit Management. Growing up, she was heavily involved in 4-H where she showed a variety of animals such as pigs, sheep, and goats. Moving forward, she is elated to be a part of College Mentors as it continues to change lives and grow.
“From deciding to major in Nonprofit Management at Indiana University to the subsequent years of education, it has all culminated in me being a part of the College Mentors team. I love that College Mentors reaches kids at such a young age, enabling them to picture themselves on a college campus and to plan for their future. I am excited to be a part of an organization that proves its civic-mindedness through daily acts and its mission!”
Jenna joined College Mentors for Kids in 2016 as an Operations Associate and enjoys working with a team of individuals who are both fun to be with and passionate about the power of mentoring. Jenna and her husband, Joey, have one daughter, Analie, two cats, and 13 chickens. Jenna attended Iowa State University before graduating from a smaller Bible college in Iowa, where Joey also graduated from. They have lived in Indianapolis since 2010 and love calling this city their home.
“I enjoy supporting the college students as they do the week to week mentoring; it’s rewarding to hear the stories from the Little Buddies. Mentoring is an important part of my growth story, and I love that my work empowers others to continue to pay that forward to kids around the country.”
Associate Director of Programming
Lexi was excited to join the College Mentors for Kids National Office staff in July of 2018! She graduated from Ball State University with a B.S. in Social Work while simultaneously being an active participant in the College Mentors Ball State chapter. When she participated as a mentor she instantly bonded with her little buddy until serving as chapter president her senior year. Post-graduation, Lexi spent some time in the child welfare field where her passion for prevention grew and the need for College Mentors for Kids in the world was extremely apparent. Native to Granger, IN Lexi is an avid Notre Dame fan.
“I have a lot of gratitude for College Mentors for Kids. For connecting me with a wonderful little buddy who is still an important part of my life today. For helping me to call my almamater, my home. And for helping me to find a place within an organization that continues to touch my heart every day.”