Mentoring in Action: Alex Goodman

Alex Goodman (’15)Photo of alumna Alex Goodman

Religion and Political Science Double Major

Development Assistant at The Brookings Institute in Washington, DC

Mentoring Program: Faculty/Student Academic Advising

Mentor: Dr. Mary Foskett, Professor of Religion and Director of the WFU Humanities Institute


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

Obviously faculty and student advising is a required program upon entering Wake Forest, but I decided to become a student adviser in my sophomore year because I felt my experience with Dr. Foskett was successful when I was a freshman advisee. She was also my faculty pair when I became a student adviser.

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

Dr. Foskett has been my adviser every year since I have been at Wake Forest. Each time I come into her office, she is warm and inviting. There is no specific conversation that has been the most significant or the most memorable but she always teaches by example. She treats everyone with respect, and as she does that, this respect is reciprocated. She epitomizes treating others the way you wish to be treated.

How have you benefited personally from being in a mentoring relationship?

As I said before, I was so touched by Dr. Foskett as a freshman advisee that I requested to partner with her to mentor younger students as a sophomore student adviser. After this, I also requested to have her as my major adviser within the Religion department.

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

I came from a pretty small high school. I went to the same school from kindergarten through 12th grade, and as a result, I had many faculty mentors along the way who supported me. When I first came to Wake Forest, I honestly felt a little overwhelmed and lost. I did not have a faculty support system as accessible as I had in the past and it was scary. Then, I met Dr. Foskett who not only was warm and welcoming but supportive, understanding, and interested in me. As she became further invested in my success, I became further invested in Wake Forest.

Why is mentoring important to you?

I think Wake Forest teaches us that there is only so much you can learn about life through a textbook. This is not to say that Wake Forest does not value school work because any student here can attest to the Work Forest reputation, but that is not where learning should stop. Mentoring is an integral out-of-the-classroom learning experience. Being paired with either a faculty member or someone working in a field of interest to you, you are able to get a tangible understanding of what its like to be in the real world. This real world understanding is ultimately the purpose of college. We are not here to be able to spout out interesting facts at cocktail parties, but rather, we are here to learn how to be good well-rounded people. We learn this from mentoring.