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Stories That Matter: Julia & Dunya

Minds Matter is a program that has a lasting impact on both students and mentors

Take a look at Julia & Dunya. Theirs is one of many stories that matter every day in the lives of both students and mentors in our program. This story begins when Dunya arrived to the United States from Ethiopia shortly before she began high school.

Her family did all they could to help her attempt to catch up with her English-speaking peers before she enrolled in classes, but with learning a new language as a major barrier, she appeared to be shy and uneducated to the world around her when she was in fact anything but. Her teachers quickly found that obstacles were no match for her work ethic. She crushed it in math and science and only needed supplemental English classes for one year.

After her freshman year, Dunya was selected by the Minds Matter program. There, she was paired with two dedicated mentors. One of them was Julia, an accountant at a large firm, who saw Dunya’s talent with numbers and encouraged her to follow a similar path.

Over the next three years, Dunya and Julia developed a personal connection that extended through mentoring activities and Minds Matter events as well as friendly outings and family gatherings. Near the end of her three years in Minds Matter, Dunya was accepted to several colleges, offered scholarships, and chose to attend Colorado State University. She excelled in college just as she did in high school. During her junior year of college, Dunya was offered a prestigious internship. To their mutual surprise, this internship was at Julia’s firm. When Julia received the news, she raced down to the office with tears of pride and excitement.

All their years of hard had come to fruition.Thanks to her dedication, talent, and references, Dunya was ultimately hired at the firm.Julia and Dunya’s mentorship has lasted long past the three-year commitment required by Mind Matters, and it serves as an example of the life-long impact that our program can have in the lives of both the mentee and the mentor.