Higher Education Mentor Charles Lu

Charles Lu"This past semester, I mentored a former student of mine, Chance Vaughan, as part of the Intellectual Entrepreneurship (IE) program. I taught Chance in a UGS course his first semester at UT and he served as a facilitator for me in his second year. Even though we had already built a solid relationship prior to the IE experience, both of us got the opportunity to break the traditional mentor-mentee relationship in several ways.

For starters, we were both generously funded through IE to travel to Costa Mesa, CA, where we presented at the American Association for Hispanics in Higher Education (AAHHE) conference. In addition to presenting with our research team, Chance helped us collect, transcribe, and code data, as well as design the presentation.

As a student in the Gateway Scholars Program, Chance was also vital in helping us develop the partnership between Project MALES (Mentoring to Achieve Latino Educational Success) and Gateway. I was able to learn from him through "upward mentoring" what the first-year experience is like in Gateway, and how to most effectively form this partnership so it will be marketable and valuable to the student experience.

Perhaps most importantly, though, the IE experience provided us the opportunity to see each other not only as a mentor or a mentee, but also as humans. We were able to be open with each other about our struggles, accomplishments, developments, and doubts. To me, this "human" aspect was the most important because having a deeper understanding of who we are, where we come from, and the direction in which we are headed, allowed us to form a bond that will transcend the IE and university experience."