Sandra Derrick (BSHE ’76, MED ’80) is a Double Dawg from the College of Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS) with a passion for giving back to her alma mater. Derrick served on the FACS Alumni Association Board of directors as president, and this past spring she participated in the UGA Mentor Program pilot. Her mentee, Anna Schermerhorn ‘20, will be a UGA Mentor Program student ambassador this fall.
Did you have experience being mentored or being a mentor before?
I’ve never been involved with a mentor program before – so I had no experience to draw from.
What was your biggest hesitation about becoming a mentor?
My biggest hesitation was that I wouldn’t have any information to share with my mentee or that what I shared would not be of help. I’ve been out of college for some time, so I was unsure that what I had to say and share would help.
What has been the biggest surprise?
My biggest surprise was how much fun I’ve had! Anna, my mentee, has been so wonderful. She has been much more than I hoped, but of course I knew that any UGA student would be beyond amazing! Anna and I just clicked. She is nice and friendly, and always asks for my ideas and thoughts—then she always listens to what I think and what I have to share. She brought flowers to me at our last meeting in Athens, and we’ve kept in touch during the summer with all the things she’s doing. I’m sure we will visit in Athens this academic year, too.
Why has this been so meaningful for you?
This has been such a meaningful experience. I love UGA and FACS, so I had the opportunity to put the two things I love together with an amazing UGA FACS student. I’ve gotten to help Anna make connections with so many people and she’s reached out to others to network. She even obtained an internship program this summer through a connection!
Anna will probably be of help to the UGA FACS Alumni Association Board of Directors this year by serving on the Student Engagement Committee. We have already set the wheels in motion for her to assist, and I just love seeing her make those connections and share her passion for life! She is going to do such amazing things, and she already has, but I have a front row seat just watching her bloom.
What would you tell someone considering participating in the UGA Mentor Program?
Just jump right in! It’s something that I would love for others to experience, and I don’t want folks to miss out on such an amazing opportunity.
I know how valuable it is for both students and alumni, so I really want others to be involved in such a worthwhile program.
It doesn’t take time away from work or family, and alumni will feel so energized working with a mentee–they just won’t be able to get that smile off their face. Plus, you will make a friend for life. Seeing what others become is one of the most amazing things ever, especially a UGA student. Just knowing that you’ve had a small part in what they’ve become is like nothing else. It’s what the UGA family, especially the UGA FACS family, is all about! Family.