Mentoring in Action: Natalie Solomon

Natalie Solomon (’15)Photo of alumna Natalie Solomon

Psychology and Religion Double Major with a Religion and Public Engagement Concentration

Doctoral Student, Clinical Psychology, at Stanford University in San Francisco, CA

Mentoring Program: Religion and Public Engagement (RPE)

Mentor: Dr. Stephen Boyd, Professor of Religion and Director of Religion and Public Engagement

 

How did you get involved with this mentoring program/mentor and why did you decide to participate as a mentee?

I came to Wake planning to be a Psychology major, hoping to understand and serve people. I took a Religion class in order to fulfill a humanities requirement, and honestly fell in love with the interdisciplinary perspective that it provided. I then decided to double major, and the following semester I took a class with Dr. Boyd. Dr. Boyd truly provided me with the tools that helped me to ground my education. He taught me to utilize my knowledge in all facets of my life and I am infinitely grateful for his insistence that one’s mind cannot solely exist in the classroom. Dr. Boyd then became my RPE mentor and guided me through an internship that further helped to illuminate the fluidity of knowledge, understanding, and ultimately responsibility.

Give an example of a significant conversation you’ve had with your mentor. What did you learn?

Dr. Boyd often asks me the harder questions, the ones that I would often rather avoid. One time I expressed my concern for several social issues and Dr. Boyd asked me what exactly I was doing for the world. I learned that I did not have a good answer, yet. I learned that identifying problems is important, but so is working to solve them. I learned that I have a responsibility to return a portion of the generosity that the world has displayed for me.

Have you benefited personally from being in a mentoring relationship?

I am the middle child in an extremely busy and partially international family. It is very easy to fly by unnoticed and I only have myself to hold myself accountable to my goals. Dr. Boyd also holds me accountable to my goals and ideals and I deeply appreciate that. I have profound gratitude for the genuine interest and care that Dr. Boyd displays for his students.

What impact has this mentoring relationship (or with other mentors) had on your Wake Forest student experience?

I was initially drawn to Wake because I felt like their admittance process was similar to the one that I was using to choose my school. I liked that Wake interviewed everyone, seeking a personal connection. I liked that Wake did not require testing scores, not playing purely a numbers game. I hoped that this genuine interest in its students would permeate beyond admissions and this mentoring relationship has proven to me that it does.

Why is mentoring important to you?

Often at the beginning of a semester, when my professors introduce themselves to the class, I am honestly floored by how accomplished and interesting they are. I often wish that we could take a class or two to actually dissect their immense achievements and pick their brains for advice. Normally, this isn’t on the syllabus, however mentoring has reopened that door for me.