A Publication for the faculty, staff, administrators and friends of California State University, Chico
October 7, 2004 Volume 35/Number 2

Stories on the Web

Mary Oling Ottoo, Mar'Keyth Powell (seated, left) and Pedro Douglas

Looking at the Whole Person

Mary Oling Ottoo, director of Student Judicial Affairs and Special Projects, mentored Mar'Keyth Powell this summer. Oling Ottoo has extensive experience as a mentor; in her prior position at the City College of New York she mentored about 20 minority students a year.

Oling Otto says that most of the students in the Minority Undergraduate Fellow Program need guidance determining career objectives and dealing with their classes. "I not only do academic advising for Mar’Keyth, but we also had to come up with some sort of agreement on what he should pursue for his career," she says.

Oling Ottoo was much more than just a professional mentor. "I'm also somebody Mar’Keyth can come and talk to about whatever is happening in his life or what he is struggling with. I know Chico is not exactly the easiest place to deal with if you are a minority student. We've worked through a lot of struggles that he has had," she says.

Powell calls Douglas and Oling Ottoo his "godsends." "Right before I met them, I was fed up with school, I wasn't satisfied with my major, and I didn't feel like I was able to get involved in my college," he said.

"I have been able to watch Mar’Keyth grow from completely not knowing what to do and wanting to leave Chico State to saying ‘I can do this,’" said Oling Ottoo. "He has come a long way."

Oling Ottoo describes her perspective on being a mentor and intern supervisor: "It requires a lot of dedication of time and commitment. It's not something where you can just give them an assignment and explain it. You have to be able to look at the whole human being, not just how to get them graduated. Essentially, you are developing, you are molding, a human being, a good citizen. You have to look at their emotional well being. You have to look at what kinds of relationships they're having at home, what they're struggling with. You have to look at all of those aspects."



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