5 Ways to Share Your Light

June 17, 2024

By Laura J. Cole ’04 ’08MLS

An alumni mentor works with a Rollins student
Career Champions mentor and mentee Eryka Jennings ’92 and Nicole Edoziem ’24.Photo by Scott Cook.

Sharing your time, expertise, and connections with Rollins students can help fuel their career potential while strengthening your connection to your alma mater.

Rewarding. That’s the recurring response from alumni when reflecting on their time spent with Rollins students, whether it’s as mentors, speakers, visitors, interviewers, or even hiring managers. Through these connections, students gain knowledge, skills, and experience that better prepares them for the road ahead. And for alumni, there’s the gratification of having provided students with the support and confidence they need to succeed.

“Watching and helping students flourish and grow to their fullest potential provides a lot of satisfaction and sense of accomplishment,” says Trustee Pat Loret de Mola ’78 ’80MBA.

Explore five meaningful ways you can give back to Rollins and the next generation of Tars.

Angelina Khourisader and Pat Loret de Mola
Angelina Khourisader ’23 ’24MBA (left) and Pat Loret de Mola ’78 ’80MBAPhoto by Scott Cook.

1. Serve as a Mentor

Students who have a mentor have been shown to perform better both in college and beyond. Through Rollins’ Career Champions alumni mentorship program, you’ll be partnered for an academic year with a student whose interests align with your expertise.

“It’s thrilling to be able to make a meaningful impact on a student’s life before they venture into the real world,” says de Mola. A serial entrepreneur with a storied career in banking and finance, she has mentored half a dozen Rollins students, including Angelina Khourisader ’23 ’24MBA.

“Because of Pat, I pursued a lot of opportunities, including studying abroad and doing a finance internship at Siemens,” says Khourisader, who now works as a management consulting analyst at World Wide Technology. “We both were student-athletes and attended Crummer, so we connected on so many levels. I’m grateful for our conversations, her help in navigating so many decisions, and her support through seven rounds of interviews and negotiating my salary.”

2. Open Doors of Opportunity

Alumni employers can play a pivotal role in launching Rollins grads into meaningful careers. In turn, by attending career fairs, you can discover students with the skills and knowledge to advance your organization.

“It’s imperative to find people who have the capacity to think critically beyond their specific major and who are a good fit culturally,” says Bill Shugart ’11, founder of art consulting firm Locol Arts. “Rollins has a good affinity for producing students who meet both of those criteria.”

Shugart recently hired art major Sam Trask ’23, whom he met while attending a campus career fair and whose knowledge and skills paired perfectly with a role he was looking to fill.

“If Bill hadn’t spent time talking to me about my interests and his business,” says Trask, “I wouldn’t have found this great opportunity as an art consultant, which aligns exactly with what I want to do professionally.”

Campbell Brown returns to the classroom to talk to Rollins students.
Photo by Scott Cook.

3. Return to the Classroom

As a speaker for events like the Crummer Innovative Leader Series, you can share your career path and insider’s perspective with students in related courses.

Trustee Campbell Brown ’90 has returned to campus several times to speak to students learning about family enterprises. As chair of the board of directors of Brown-Forman Corporation and former president of Old Forester, he shares stories and advice on everything from corporate governance and responsibility to sustainability and philanthropy.

“Connecting how our time at Rollins informed our own professional journeys is always a story worth telling,” says Brown. “Our experiences help augment the business and corporate strategies shared through case studies and textbooks—and I’ve always been impressed with the preparedness of the audience.”

4. Conduct Mock Interviews

During the culmination of their general curriculum requirements, students present an interdisciplinary capstone project each semester during the Foundations Summit. As an interviewer, you’ll prepare them to answer questions they’ll face during job searches.

Marisa Worley ’03, senior director of development at United Arts of Central Florida, recalls doing a mock interview when she was a student—and how much it benefited her. Now, Worley does the interviewing and talks to students about her career path and their studies. It’s one way she gives back to the college that prepared her for her career.

“Interviewing, having conversations about your work, and networking are all art forms,” she says. “The more students can practice in low-pressure environments, the more prepared they’ll be when they graduate.”

Scott Smith and David Michael give a talk about leadership at Rollins
Photo by Scott Cook.

5. Share Your Expertise

Engaging with students doesn’t have to involve a full-fledged presentation. There are a variety of opportunities on campus that provide a forum for students to ask their most pressing questions about your industry and career.

This past winter, Scott Smith ’91—co-owner of Speedway Motorsports and director of Sonic Automotive—participated in a TKE Talk on campus about the importance of leadership in your life and career. Myles Long ’24 and Kobe Michail ’26 served as moderators.

“As co-founder of the Rollins chapter of TKE, I thought it would be a great opportunity to meet the guys and see the campus again,” he says. “I found the time to be exceptionally rewarding, and I connected with several undergrads—and initiated an internship program—as a result.”

A college student chats with her mentor over coffee.

Share Your Light

Discover how you can shape our students’ futures by sharing your time, connections, and expertise.

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