January is National Mentoring Month, and at the Kansas City National Security Campus we have a big reason to celebrate our dedicated mentors. We currently have more than 30 employees actively mentoring young people in Kansas City and Albuquerque through our HOPE and Black Achievers Scholarship Programs.
Honeywell mentors provide encouragement, professional advice and coaching to students who are on an educational journey to careers paths in science, technology, engineering, math and manufacturing (STEMM) fields.
Amanda Howell, deputy program manager, mentors DaTara Lee, a recipient of the Honeywell Black Achievers Society Engineering Scholarship. DaTara attends the University of Missouri-Columbia, Amanda’s alma mater.
“My favorite thing about mentoring DaTara is seeing her growth overtime in her college and personal life,” said Amanda. “It’s amazing to see the guidance I provide shaping her future.”
Amanda gives DaTara advice on everything from living with college roommates to moving into an apartment off-campus. She also helped her understand how to connect with her professors during their office hours and utilize the career center for support in prepping for exams.
“It’s great just having someone that I can talk to, and she understands what I’m going through because she’s been there before,” said DaTara. “The long nights, crying over an exam, roommate issues, everything, she helps me work through all of it.”
Amanda also helped prepare DaTara for her first internship last summer at the KCNSC. DaTara was one of the youngest interns, but her professionalism and dedication helped her stand out, and earn an invitation to return this summer.
DaTara says she now considers Amanda as much more than just a mentor, but also a friend.
“Sometimes she’s very nurturing like another mother, other times she’s like a big sister - the one that I can go and talk to about anything and we can even laugh together,” said DaTara.
Amanda says spending time mentoring DaTara keeps her young, but also gives her a chance to continue the cycle of support from which she’s also benefitted.
“I actually have several mentors. I think it’s important to have personal and professional mentors for guidance, motivation and emotional support role modeling,” said Amanda.
DaTara is also paying it forward, sharing her experience to help mentor some of the younger students in the HOPE and Black Achievers Scholarship Programs. DaTara says ultimately Amanda inspires to keep moving forward.
“She gives me hope and seeing her in the industry shows me that I too can make it to the finish line and get my degree,” said DaTara.