Celebrating Global Diversity Awareness Month by highlighting a special mentoring relationship
Graduate student Kehinde “Kenny” Lawal came to the University of Georgia from Nigeria. She credits her mentor, Alex Gomez (BSBCHE ’13), with helping her make the most of her time on campus.
Kenny decided to attend UGA because she wanted to earn a Master of Science in engineering at a reputable university. Her husband, also a graduate student at UGA, influenced her decision.
Moving to Athens also was Kenny’s first time in the United States. She found the university system here different from back home, and it took her a couple of semesters to feel comfortable.
Kenny eventually joined the UGA Mentor Program to gain a better understanding of the American energy industry. Her search to find a mentor with experience in that field led her to Alex.
“My mentor has been great at showing me where I was at the time and where I needed to be,” Kenny said. “He guided me in setting short- and long-term goals. He also made me aware of opportunities available at UGA to help me build a brand for myself.”
Kenny says her positive experience with Alex has inspired her to become a UGA Mentor when she graduates.
Here, in his own words, Alex describes his experience mentoring Kenny.
It has been a pleasure to get to know Kenny. As an international student, she has overcome unique challenges that I never experienced as a student. Talking through stories together, I got to see how those challenges have her well-prepared for times of transition. Her resilience will not only benefit her career, but it also serves as an example for me to learn from. I use the insights I gain from talking with Kenny to illustrate to others who are considering becoming mentors that mentorship is a two-way learning experience.
I am always impressed by students who are taking advantage of the opportunities UGA provides, and that goes for Kenny, too. Mentorship is an investment. It requires that both mentors and mentees put in energy and effort in order to come out with a valuable experience. Kenny always took any “homework” I gave her and acted on her own to get it done. Her initiative has continuously encouraged me, especially how seamlessly she manages classes, research and family—all while still prioritizing personal development.
Kenny is goal-oriented, proactive, curious about educational and career opportunities, and extremely qualified to excel in whatever she does. Itt has been rewarding for me to watch her confidence grow to match her abilities and qualifications. Kenny is certain to go on to be a great reflection of UGA.
It may amaze you how much you get out of being a UGA Mentor