Lake Superior State University
Lake Superior State University
 
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Alum Success

Ben Mitchell

Ben Mitchell
Mechanical Engineering '06

Ben Mitchell grew up in a devout household in the central Upper Peninsula of Michigan where emphasis was placed on helping others. He traveled with his father to places such as Kenya and Peru on short-term medical missions. When he was in Kenya, a missionary explained that engineers have the greatest potential to influence the largest number of people. During high school, Ben participated in a youth mission trip to Tijuana. A result of the mission trips, his family decided to adopt three Vietnamese children when he was a junior.

All of these experiences had a great influence on Ben’s outlook on life. He decided to major in mechanical engineering and enrolled at Lake Superior State University. Near the end of his senior year, he decided to volunteer for the Peace Corps to help others.

His two-year commitment began in the fall of 2007 and took Ben to Burkina Faso in western Africa. He resides in the village of Tansila, population 3,000, approximately 10 km from the Mali border. His host organization is the local cotton growers union. It works cooperatively with other villages to improve and expand their production techniques. He serves as an agribusiness advisor as a part of the Small Enterprise Development program which helps create market linkages and assists with the advancement of business skills.

Parents at Lake State

Getting Summer Plans in Place

Perhaps your student already has job, internship or volunteer plans in place for the summer. If so, you can breathe a sigh of relief. Yet, if he’s still trying to figure out what to do this summer, you can help:

  • Ask your student what he/she’s Interested In. What does it mean to “have a worthwhile summer” in your student’s eyes? Ask! Seeing what’s important to her will help you help her reach her goals, instead of imposing your own.
  • Direct your Student to Career Services. The good folks in this office can help him look for summer jobs, internships and more. They won’t get the job for him—that’s up to him! Yet, they’ll provide support and resources throughout the process.
  • Put Out Some Feelers. It’s not your job to “fix” the summer plans issue for your student. Yet, if your students asks and will be with you for the summer, put out some feelers in town. Let community members know that your talented, hard-working kid will be around and looking for work!
  • Talk Realistically About Money. It’s easy to have grand dreams about the summer yet, it’s also important to be realistic about what needs to be done. Have an intentional conversation with your student about money and what needs to happen in order to cover next year’s college costs. If she knows that she’s responsible for spending money and books and other expenses, that will help your student gauge his/her work schedule while also seeing if she can fit in the volunteer gig she’d like to try. Providing complete information so she can make adult choices is a great step in fostering self-responsibility.

Now that it’s April, your student may need a nudge to get some summer plans in place. Offer support and ideas and encouragement. The rest is up to him!

Talk About “Summer Curriculums”

Since your student is in the academic mindset, talking about a “summer curriculum” might make a lot of sense to her. This just means being intentional about the things she’d like to learn and experience this summer. Maybe she’s been talking about how she misses reading “real” books because she always has reading to do for class. This can go on her curriculum. Or maybe she’s hoping to learn how to kayak or knit or ride a horse… put it on the curriculum!

And make it a partnership by suggesting that both of you (or the whole family!) write out your summer curriculums. Then share them so you can support one another in pursuit of these summer goals!

Student Leader...

Shyla Jones

Shyla Jones,
Business Administration

" Our small campus is inviting and really allows you to get to know other students as well as professors. All of my professors know who I am and care about my education just as much as I do. " [ more ]

Apply Today!

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