When Dani Bonilla ’13 was a sophomore at Augsburg, TRIO/Student Support Services led her to discover Scholastic Connections, a scholarship and mentorship program for high-achieving undergraduate students of color.
She realized that she met most of the requirements, and could be matched with a mentor who would provide extra support and guidance during her college years. Five new recipients are selected for the program each year. Each receives a $5000 scholarship and is paired with a mentor who is a successful Augsburg graduate of color.
After Bonilla was selected to participate, Cindy Peterson, director of Scholastic Connections, searched to connect her with a professional living the life and career that would be a perfect match. Bonilla was looking for a mentor she could relate to—someone who had overcome obstacles, whom she could trust and turn to for guidance. She was eager to learn how to achieve her academic goals and find her career path.
She found Martha Quick MSW ’10, who was excited to offer mentoring to someone interested in social work. Once she and Quick connected, they worked together over the next three years before Bonilla graduated with a psychology major in 2013.
As Martha’s mentee, Bonilla was responsible for setting personal and academic goals each semester. They met twice a month, for coffee or sometimes dinner, and Quick met with other mentors monthly. They shared stories with each other. “I truly enjoyed spending time with Dani, and we were able to exchange meaningful experiences,” Quick says. “I continue to watch Dani grow in her life as I did when she was in college. Being able to witness a young lady transform professionally gives me great pleasure.”
“Martha made me feel as part of her family—there were times she even invited me to family outings,” Bonilla says. Between their monthly visits, Bonilla checked in with Martha by phone at least once a week. “As I got closer to graduating, my schedule got busier with classes, work, and internships, but Martha and I made it work, even if our meeting was short.” Continue reading