This story first appeared on UGA Today.
Bella Sci entered the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication focused on working in the Big Apple one day. She credits her experience in the UGA Mentor Program for giving her the confidence to go after what she wanted. “I always wanted to move to NYC, but it seemed so big and so far away,” Sci explained. “Talking to mentors who had made the leap convinced me not to let my fears hold me back.”
Those mentors made Sci realize, if there ever was a time to take a chance, it was right out of college. “I had this idea that when you graduated, you had to know what you are doing. I thought decisions made at this time were permanent—would set the course of my life. My mentors reassured me that nothing is forever, and everyone is still figuring it out. ‘Believing in what is possible is almost more important than what you do right now.’ That perspective shattered any barriers in my mind,” Sci said.
Sci graduated from UGA in May 2022 and took off to New York to follow her dreams. She now works for RocaNews, a small 13-person media startup. She loves her role as community and growth lead where she is helping to build a company with the goal of delivering nonpartisan and balanced news. Sci said, “Doing something I feel passionate about makes me feel fulfilled.”
Now a UGA mentor herself, conquering self-doubt is a message Sci passes on to her own UGA mentee. “Acknowledging the role mentors played in my career development and in providing guidance through my college years, I couldn’t wait to become a mentor and return the favor,” Sci said.
Her UGA Mentee, Kelsey DuPuy (Class of 2025) is benefiting from Sci’s experience. Like Sci, DuPuy is an advertising major at Grady. “Being able to ask questions and get advice from someone who’s been here opened my eyes to things at UGA I didn’t know about. I’ve gained a frame of reference on both college life and what comes next,” DuPuy said. Following advice from Sci, DuPuy has become involved in the Red & Black and is building a network through LinkedIn. The fact that Sci worked in NYC made her an attractive mentor to DuPuy. “Bella’s story is motivating to me. It gives me confidence in the choices I’m making,” she said.
Sci first joined the UGA Mentor Program as a sophomore. “I had just transferred into UGA when a friend told me about the program. I was looking to add some professionals to my life, beyond my friends and family, hoping to gain insight into the real world after college,” Sci recalled. She said it was valuable to speak to someone who had walked in shoes she hoped to one day fill.
Sci was later inspired to become a UGA Mentor Program ambassador, giving her an opportunity to develop programming, partnerships and marketing strategies to bring heightened awareness to the mentor program. “Having had such a fantastic experience with my first mentor, I thought, ‘Why doesn’t everyone have one of these?’ I couldn’t believe people didn’t know about the program. I wanted to let everyone know what it’s like to have someone in your corner,” Sci said.
Now, Sci is a champion for becoming a mentor. “Everyone has something unique to offer. You don’t realize how valuable your experience is until you speak to someone who is looking for exactly what you have to give. I wouldn’t have known that I wanted to work in a startup if I hadn’t connected with a mentor who worked in one,” Sci said. “Your experience is everything. Share it!
January is National Mentoring Month and Jan 11 is “I am a UGA Mentor Day.” To learn more about the UGA Mentor Program, visit mentor.uga.edu.