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,"
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."