I am a first-generation college student, an only child, and I spent my formative years at a school with a very skewed ratio of students to teachers – to say that I lacked mentoring growing up would be an understatement. It wasn’t until I was in college that I began to learn the importance of having a good mentor, and even then, I wasn’t sure how to get one or where I should be looking. It wasn’t until I stepped outside of my comfort zone and got involved with a different school on campus that I realized I had found a mentor without even trying.
Mathew Powers is a lecturer in the School of Informatics and Computing at IUPUI – it should be noted that I was not part of the SOIC program, I was a psychology major in the School of Science – and he teaches several video game courses throughout the year. I was filling my electives with the game classes and learning to branch out into different areas than where I thought I had to be within my psychology degree. I was pushing myself harder in classes that didn’t necessarily apply to my major and I was enjoying them more than I expected I would. I found myself seeking out other opportunities to participate in the Media Arts program instead of sticking to what I was comfortable with and Mathew Powers always encouraged me to pick and choose different aspects of my interest to help me construct my own plan for school. This freedom that I was afforded helped me enjoy my time as an undergrad, as well as to help me explore and grow once I left the walls of IUPUI.
Mentoring was never something I thought I needed, I didn’t realize how important it would be to find someone with experience to help me grow and learn. It took me most of a semester to realize that his unwavering interest in helping his students achieve and grow was exactly that – a mentor. I began to explore my own abilities to mentor the other students in my classes and activities to help them in a small fraction of the way that Professor Powers helped me. I certainly never saw myself as a mentor but once I began to feel the satisfaction of helping someone else explore an area of their interests that they previously couldn’t or hadn’t, I started to feel like mentoring was exactly what I had always been looking for, both for myself and to give to others.
Having Mathew Powers as a professor, a friend, and a mentor was integral to my time as an undergrad and has continued since graduation. His influence has shaped a lot of the way I think about my position in the world, pushing me to look for new opportunities wherever I go, and seeking to “gamify” everything I can. His expertise in gaming helped me explore areas of interest to tie into my psychology background, and his overwhelming commitment to being an exceptional professor and mentor helped me look at my own life experiences and use them to my advantage.
At Diverse Talent Strategies, we offer mentoring programs and resources for both individuals and companies. To learn, more, contact us today.