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Jayhawk Career Network

Mentor Spotlight: Michelle Wilson

We’re highlighting Jayhawks who serve as mentors to fellow alumni and students to celebrate National Mentoring Month.

Michelle Wilson c’90 g’19, manages the TRIO SES & STEM programs at KU. As Assistant Director of Academic and Professional Development, Wilson works with first-generation, low-income, and students with disabilities.

Connect with Michelle on KU Mentoring+.

What do you do at your job? And how did you end up in your current career?

Currently, I am working in a full-time role as Assistant Director of Academic and Professional Development, managing the KU TRIO SES & STEM tutoring program and supervising over forty diverse employees. This program focuses on first-generation, low-income, and students with disabilities. Further, I am teaching part-time as an Adjunct Professor in the Institute for Leadership Studies at the University of Kansas (KU).

 

I ended up in my current career when funds were no longer available for a Program Manager role I held with KU Achievement and Assessment Institute. At that time, I was moved to the KU TRIO SES & STEM unit where I have held a variety of positions from November 2018 to the present.

Who is a mentor for you, and how did they help you?

I have a large network of mentors in my life (including my mother), and I cannot name just one. My mentors provide such great support through encouragement, motivation, guidance, advice and so much more. I cannot thank my mentors enough for all the love and support they offer. They are my cheerleaders and I wouldn’t be where I am now without them. A big “Thank you” to my mentors!! 

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What advice do you have for current college students or young alumni?

My advice to current college students and young alumni is to connect with others to build your network. If you don’t know how to reach out and build authentic relationships with others, find a mentor who will help you make connections with students, staff, faculty, KU alumni, etc. An engaged mentor can be your sounding board, send you opportunities, connect you to those in your field of study and will be there for you no matter what while at KU and beyond.

Please see the comments below from a few of my many mentees.

“I have been working for Michelle for the past three years and she has helped me develop my professional skills through workshops and professional development sessions on the job in addition to supporting me in outside ventures and offering her own experience to guide me. Michelle’s mentorship is invaluable. She has impacted all the tutors who work for her in positive ways. Michelle is an inspiration to all who know her. She truly Rock Chalks!” ~ Quin Dotzert, KU Class of 2023

“From my freshman seminar professor to my encouraging and knowledgeable mentor, Michelle has consistently provided me with direction and encouragement to be successful. Since 2019, Michelle has been passionate about making me aware of resources and connecting me with individuals who I could learn from (at one point I was getting 2 quality email introductions per day!) Michelle took my growth seriously, and cultivated my potential before I even saw it within myself. For this, I am forever grateful for her mentorship.” ~ Ladazhia Taylor, KU Class of 2023

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“Michelle Wilson has been a mentor for me since starting as a tutor in 2019. Since then, she has given me advice and opportunities to grow in my academic and professional career. Michelle has been an advocate for me during my internships and different job applications. Without Michelle’s guidance, I wouldn’t be able to reach for the stars.” ~Alyssa Salas, KU Class of 2022

What is your favorite KU memory?

I have quite a few favorite KU memories from my undergrad days listed below.

  • Working out at Robinson Gymnasium (this was the spot pre-Ambler Student Recreation Center)
  • KU Men’s basketball team winning the 1988 NCAA national championship
  • Hanging out with friends at Wescoe Beach and the Kansas Union between classes
  • Parties at the Kansas Union and the Alpha house

Need a mentor? Want to serve as a mentor? KU Mentoring+ is open to students, alumni, faculty and staff, and friends of the University of Kansas. Professionals who are looking for opportunities to connect with KU and provide assistance to Jayhawks are also welcome. Learn more about KU Mentoring+.

 

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