Academic All-State Alumni Mentoring Program
Oklahoma State University, Stillwater
Kate Sander, a junior communications science major at Oklahoma State University, is serving her third as a mentor to Ivory Rose, now a sixth-grader at Stillwater Middle School.
“Mentoring has changed both our lives,” said Sander, a 2015 Academic All-State alumna from Cheyenne. “I’ve loved every minute!”
Sander began volunteering when Ivory Rose was attending Skyline Elementary School, spending an hour each week to provide academic support and encouragement. The duo loves making crafts. Together, they have learned origami, painted a clay pot, and potted a plant for a Mother’s Day gift, and created small decorative Christmas trees. They have also enjoyed taking walks and talking about “everything under the sun, both serious and silly,” Sander said.
Sander said Ivory Rose has grown from the relationship, becoming more confident in speaking to and interacting with adults. The relationship has also had a big impact on Sander, even shaping her career aspirations.
“My chosen field of study is speech pathology, which will give me the opportunity to work with children in the future,” said Sander. “I was led to pursue this career path after a semester and a half of mentoring.”
Sander said becoming a mentor her freshman year also helped her become more accountable because she knew she had a young person depending on her, and she didn’t want to let her down.
“It opened my eyes and my heart to see just how many children could benefit from having a steady adult presence in their lives,” she said. “The kids benefit more than you know or may ever see, and there are plenty of children that just need someone to invest in them.”
Mentoring Program coordinator Beverly Woodrome said she is always excited to read Sander’s reports and texts and see photos from her mentoring activities. “Kate has truly gone the extra mile in her commitment to and encouragement of Ivory Rose. It’s an honor to work with such an outstanding young college woman.”