TeErica Tatum, explorer lab mentor

I serve as a Learning Undefeated mentor to strengthen my communication skills and continue to perfect my adaptability skills. Not only do I strive for human connectivity with the children, but I also believe in the importance of education. I want children to know about college and the possibilities it opens up for them. I am a mentor because I want to make a difference in children’s life who may not be exposed to the glittery side of education and can only see the price.

My most memorable moments happen when I encounter a sweet kid who’s like “I wanna be like you.” I think it’s adorable and kind of funny because there’s so much more to be than me! I’m not even where I want to be, yet. I also like when they ask me what I want to do and seeing their face when I explain to them what I want to do for the rest of my life and how they can be a part of that through engineering or if they just straight up decide that what I want to do is their goal, too.

The biggest thing I’ve taken away from being a mentor: patience! Those children teach you to be patient in so many different ways—it’s amazing. You can’t just scream at them to stop tugging on you. They don’t mean any harm. As a mentor, it’s my job to get them to understand the small elements in life like patience. It takes patience to teach patience.