Trustee Mentors

The transition from college life to a meaningful career can be tough. But thanks to a new pilot program at SLC, 20 graduating students now have a guide.

The program pairs seniors with members of the Board of Trustees for one-on-one mentoring, Sarah Lawrence style. Over the course of the year, the pairs talk regularly, discussing everything from how to find a job to life after graduation.

The official program, which is sponsored by the offices of Career Counseling and Alumnae/i Relations, ends in May, but most of the pairs say that their relationships will last much longer. Here’s a look at what both students and mentors are getting out of it.

Making Plans: Nancie and Jess

Name: Nancie Cooper MFA ’04
Profession: Retired management consultant
Why do you like being a mentor? “On the board we spend so much time talking about the students; it’s wonderful to be able to put some faces to all that planning. Jess is a wonderful storyteller, and she’s very good with children, drawing them out. I really enjoy spending time with her.”

Name: Jess Goodwin ’10
Concentrations: Theatre and education
Why do you like being a mentee? “I like having somebody who I can talk to about the practical things. I love my teachers and they’ve been incredibly supportive, but it isn’t always fair to ask them specific things like how to get a job.”
Best advice received: “What I like about Nancie is that she gives very clear goals, like ‘I want you to do these three things this month.’”

Friendly Advice: Mark and Frederic

Frederic Richter '10 and Mark Goodman '83Name: Mark Goodman ’83
Profession: Lawyer
Why do you like being a mentor? “I love Frederic’s enthusiasm, his intelligence, and his sense of limitless possibility. Spending time with him reminds me of the way the world looked when I was leaving college and trying to figure out what would come next. I fully expect to keep in touch with Frederic as he moves on from Sarah Lawrence. Ending our relationship at graduation would seem very artificial.”

Name: Frederic Richter ’10
Concentrations: Writing, history, and film
Why do you like being a mentee? “It gives students the opportunity to meet the trustees, who are so integral to the running of the school. Little things that would normally go way below their radar, like prices at the Pub, come into their awareness from conversations with students.”
Best advice received: “Mark told me that if I don’t think law school is right for me, it’s not. He gave me reassuring advice that I’m not insane to pursue film. It’s nice to have a friend, someone who’s concerned about you but who’s not a student.”

Building a Network: Paula and Lindsey

Paula Rudnick '72 and Lindsey Kempton '10Name: Paula Rudnick ’72
Profession: Retired television producer
Why do you like being a mentor? “I think it’s really helpful for students to have a network once they graduate and enter the professional world. It is very gratifying to help someone who is just starting out.”

Name: Lindsey Kempton ’10
Concentrations: Film and writing
Why do you like being a mentee? “I really enjoy being able to connect with someone who went to Sarah Lawrence and who can take the experience from here and apply it to the film industry.”
Best advice received: “She told me that it takes two years to get your foot in the door, so I should look at my first jobs in the industry as the equivalent of going to an entertainment grad school. This advice has really helped me frame my perspective going into the job market.”

Fresh Perspectives: Rona and Jennifer

Name: Rona Carr ’74
Profession: Principal and founder of Austin International Group
Why do you like being a mentor? “I’m on the facilities committee of the Board of Trustees, and it’s been many years since I’ve looked at campus from a student’s perspective. Listening to Jennifer talk about what she’s doing helped me look more closely at the physical aspects of the campus and the quality of the social life.”

Name: Jennifer Wong ’10
Concentrations: Japanese and literature
Why do you like being a mentee? “I’ve always been interested in how people got to where they are. I want to hear what it’s like, life after SLC—both the bumps in the road and the fortuitous accidents.”
Best advice received? “I didn’t really sign up for the mentoring program seeking advice. I signed up wanting to know someone who graduated from SLC and is happy about where they are and what they’ve done. As a graduating senior, that’s the most reassuring thing you can hear.”