Finding Mentors as an Undergraduate

Posted by tom | Jun 8, 2012

Have a story (or multiple stories) about finding a mentor as an undergraduate? Advice on approaching possible mentors? Thank-you to Hannah for her Emerging Scholars Network blog post Finding Mentors as an Undergraduate (6/7/2012) and Lisa for materials gathered for Resource for Grad Student mentoring of Undergraduates (5/29/2012).

Grove City College: Picture of Rockwell, location of my studies in Biology, from first year dorm room. Comment: I have many stories, such as hours dialoguing with my first core curriculum class professor at Grove City College. I most probably would not have met this French faculty member except through the core curriculum requirement. As one steeped in existentialism, Nietzche, and popular alternative culture (circa early 1990's), hours dialoguing with a French professor raised in a rich Huguenot heritage was amazing -- the providence of God! I had questions spilling out and she had an open door. Furthermore she built a bridge to taking a spring term clas with a religion professor whose office door was likewise always open after class (not before as he prepared for class). I just went to the office to ask questions about the assignments (what became class after class), refine topics, eventually receiving pre-marital counseling in preparation for his co-officiating of our wedding.

My Biology advisor spent long hours encouraging me to finish the Bachelor in Science instead of transferring to a Religion degree ;) Questions about vocation emerged from the complexities of class registration. As I was friends with his children (contemporary students, one even involved with InterVarsity Missions Fellowship) and wife (who served as a campus librarian), we also had lots of informal opportunities to interact before and after graduation . . . both on and off campus.

It was also great to have the shared InterVarsity history with the Religion and the Biology professor mentioned above. All three faculty both spoke at the InterVarsity Missions Fellowship on campus.

Just beginning to reflect upon this, more specifics coming . . .

Where was this heading: Through conversations in/out of class I began a trajectory toward a critical realist perspective, involving a personal and a communal indwelling of the Biblical narrative in “response to what God has done in the story” (Middleton and Walsh, 1995, p. 174). This indwelling dialogues with culture, family, religion, and academic readings in such a way that subtle adjustments are made over time instead of large pendulum swings in the direction of the new reality, or fantastical journey, to be embraced. My “a second naivete” (Middleton and Walsh, 1995, p. 173) works out as I draw together people and resources to prophetically challenge the larger campus community and the Christian sub-community to consider a way of life which intersects with the People of God and the Word of God across time, space, and cultures. This way of life locates itself in the final act of a five act Biblical play, preceded by creation, fall, the story of Israel, and the dramatic climax of the events concerning Jesus of Nazareth. We, as the early church, find ourselves living in the fifth act, where the actors are charged with the task and responsibility of improvising the final scenes of the play on the basis of all that has gone before (Wright, http://www.ntwrightpage.com/Wright_Jerusalem_New_Testament.pdf).

The transformation of personal perspective was compelling, leading to a desire to share with others who were Culture Makers. This developed even further at a decade at Carnegie Mellon University. . . maybe that's why I so much enjoy work with Emerging Scholars. More another day.

Some of the above material drawn from One more day when you can live your life . . .

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