My ears perked up when she announced an opportunity for my freshman year cohort to write our own grant proposals. Dr. Thorp said she would support us through it – and she did. She became an indispensable mentor, referring us to her colleagues, reading our drafts, connecting us with administrators, and most importantly, she taught me how to be a leader.
To say she likes animals is clearly an understatement- and she likes college students too. Her office is in one of our dorm buildings, where hundreds of her students can find her on any given day. This means she has plenty of people to lead, and plenty of causes to advocate for.
When I think of what sets a mentor like Dr. Thorp apart, these are the traits that come to mind:
My mentor is a leader who can communicate across differences.
While so many environmentalists are shut down as “extremists” or “hippies,” Dr. Thorp communicates as a professional and is considerate while being confident. This enables her to impact more people, influence more decisions, and be a greater environmental steward. She has advised me in how to communicate across differences whether it was with grant proposal team, during a lab partner conflict, or in the aftermath of a research presentation.
Look for leadership in a mentor because learning from a confident leader who is not polarizing has taught me to refine and shape my own transdisciplinary communications skills.
I can talk to Dr. Thorp about any current event and converse freely because I know she will respect, examine, and then challenge or support my viewpoint. Watching her lead has taught me to use future positions of leadership to foster curiosity, push others to their potential, and communicate supportively without judgment.
My mentor is a listener which makes her feedback valuable.
Great mentors listen so that they know your goals. Then, they turn around and provide the push-back you need to reach those goals. A mentor who listens to you knows your best work and can help you raise your standards.
Dr. Thorp listens to my grant proposals then gives real feedback – I don’t always get a two thumbs up. If my work is not my best, then she says
You need to re-write this section of the application because your points are not clear.
She reviews grant proposals and scholarship applications with a keen eye and plenty of edits. Dr. Thorp listens to my personal life too. A good mentor cannot be completely disassociated from your personal life. Others will argue that life can be neatly categorized- that you can have some work mentors and some personal life mentors.
It only took one year of serious health concerns for me to realize that’s simply not possible. That year Dr. Thorp personally drove me to a doctor’s appointment in the snowy Michigan winter because I didn’t have a car.
Look for a listener in a mentor because a mentor who listens can steer you on the path to success while respecting your well-being as a whole.
If you aren’t comfortable or able to share other aspects of your life with your closest professional mentor, your ability to grow in your relationship will suffer. Dr. Thorp has gone above and beyond her duties as a mentor- she’s top notch, which brings me to the final point.
My mentor is a warrior. She is genuine. She is fighting for the well-being of our planet and its people.
Without shunning big business and shaming GMO’s. She is engaging minds, stimulating students, and enabling go-getters to shape the world as Spartans.
Look for a warrior to be your mentor because without genuine fulfillment from your job or area of study you cannot make it to this “warrior” level. By finding a “warrior” mentor in your field, you learn what it takes to be a genuine powerhouse.
But what does a warrior mentor get in return? Dr. Thorp A dedicated following of students who make her innovative program a success with their participation and contributions. Her program is growing, thriving, and producing grads that are shaping the world we all live in for the better. I’ve had the privilege of being a mentor to freshman myself through the RISE formal mentoring program.
Its a win-win… especially if you’re a pig.
My #Mentor kisses pigs, even when it’s muddy. Does your mentor go to great lengths? Share in the comments.
This post was written as part of the #Mentor series, which is tied to LinkedIn’s new student editorial calendar. Follow the stories here or write your own. #ThankYourMentor