GradKat Community

GradKat Community Mentorship

  • GradKat Community Mentorship Overview

    The Graduate School is offering mentorship opportunities for currently enrolled Graduate students through the Graduate Advisory Board. The Advisory Board is comprised of business professionals committed to the success of graduate students at Sam Houston State University.  Mentors volunteer to share wisdom, networks, and insights. Benefits of a mentor relationship include helping students to connect career goals with necessary skills or opportunities for growth, gaining introductions and networks, learning how to communicate and represent oneself in professional settings. Sharing experiences in success and challenges, mentors work alongside students to track skill progression, determine improvement areas, and to develop action steps for students moving into the current job market.

    Register Here

  • Career Mentoring and Readiness

    Career Mentoring and Readiness is core to the foundation of the SHSU development offer.  Our graduate students have a wide array of mentors from faculty advisors, peers, and now we are adding the advisory board.


    The advisory board members, industry professionals, are ready to develop mentoring relationships with interested students.  To learn more about the advisory board members.


    Students seeking mentorship for the 2020 Fall Semester, are encouraged to sign up by Thursday September 24, 2020.  Registered students will receive further information by Thursday October 1st, 2020. Spring semester dates will be announced at a later time. Register here.


    We are committed to your success!



    American Psychological Association

    mentor is an individual with expertise who can help develop the career of a mentee. A mentor often has two primary functions for the mentee. The career-related function establishes the mentor as a coach who provides advice to enhance the mentee’s professional performance and development. The psychosocial function establishes the mentor as a role model and support system for the mentee. Both functions provide explicit and implicit lessons related to professional development as well as general work–life balance.


    Career Mentoring Focus: 

    • Discuss with students’ ways they can measure their skill progression and determine improvement areas 
    • Inspire and encourage students to overcome weaknesses by bolstering their confidence and motivation
    • Help students connect career goals with necessary skills or opportunities for growth
    • Share experiences in success and barriers as students navigate the transition from school to career in the current job market and hiring trend
    • Encourage the development of plans and action steps for students moving into the current job market

    For questions regarding Career Mentoring, please email The Graduate School at

Advisory Board

  • Overview

    The  Advisory Board is comprised of business professionals who are committed to the success of graduate students at Sam Houston State University thereby committing to share wisdom, networks, and insights to enhance the holistic education of the graduate student. The goals of the Advisory Board are to prepare graduate students for a productive, professional life beyond SHSU and to help build life enhancement skills.

  • Advisory Board Members

    Stephanie Atkins
    Stephanie Atkins

    Chair, Advisory Board Graduate School, SHSU

    Organization: The Redbird Group

    Work Experience: 35+ years

    Areas of Expertise: Global leadership, Organizational navigation, relationship building

    Jose Colandres
    Jose Colondres

    Regional Compliance Director

    Organization: Albemarle Corporation

    Work Experience: 34 years

    Area of Expertise: Global compliance, supply chain management, risk management

    David Hawkins

    Business Development Specialist

    Organization: health care providers, Surgeons, Hospitals and associated medical practices

    Work Experience: Over 30 years

    Area of Expertise: Field Sales Training Manager, New Hire Mentor, and Executive Medical Device Representative

    Ekene Kayode

    President, Principal Consultant

    Organization: Hankuri Data Solutions

    Work Experience: 22+ years

    Area of Expertise: "1. Information & data management strategy development & implementation. 2. IT Program/Project Management using Agile delivery methodologies. 3. Building and mentoring highly effective, high performing teams.


    Laura Rowley

    Client Advisor

    Certified Financial Planner and Financial Advisor
    Organization: Mercer Advisors|Kanaly Trust

    Work Experience: 26 years

    Areas of Expertise: Financial planning, Investment Management, Trust and Estate Administration

    Steve Scarpino

    Director, Ethics & Compliance, Global Programs

    Organization: BP

    Work Experience: 34 years

    Areas of Expertise: Ethics & Compliance, Negotiation, People Management, Program/Project Management

    Steve Schroeder

    Global Human Resources Manager

    Organization: Core Laboratories

    Work Experience:

    Areas of Expertise: Human Resources management, Leadership, Mentoring, Coaching, Organizational Behavior, Working in global organizations, Diversity, Communications

    Stephanie Atkins

    Significant challenges facing new workplace entrants: 1. Adaptability 2. Efficacy core (I am enough)

    Contribution: I can help identify life core skills and values and develop life practices to center and re-center to contribute one's best.

    What I do when I’m not working: Journaling, writing, spending time with family

    Jose Colondres

    Significant challenges facing new workplace entrants: 1. Many new graduates are heavily influenced by either the big name of the organization or the initial job offer, both have merits. However, they need to be considered against the graduate's values and goals. Many large organizations may not be a good fit for their working style or goals. In the short term, individuals adapt; but in the long run, it becomes harder to succeed. 2. Knowing one's value is critical. If you are not certain about what you bring to the table, it will be much harder to integrate into the organization and also to grow your self confidence, which will show in your work. Know what you bring and what the organization brings.

    Contribution: By way of my diverse working history and my proven ability to connect with individuals. I have served in roles with increasing responsibility both in the government, as a public servant, and business sector, domestically and internationally. My experiences growing up in New York City and working my way up through Fortune 100 companies have provided me with a wealth of both business and life experiences.

    What I do when I’m not working: Fishing, restoring cars, and reading.

    Ekene Kayode

    Significant challenges facing new workplace entrants: 1. Adapting to a multi-generational workforce as they are usually younger than the company's current employees. 2. Technical learning curve for their new role: New workplace entrants would need considerable guidance on following new processes and learning how to use the tools necessary for their jobs.

    Contribution: I have over 22 years of experience working with Fortune 100 & Fortune 500 companies to develop and deliver innovative technology solutions, and I believe I can help the graduate students by ensuring they have access to the necessary tools and soft skills needed for them to be successful in the workplace.

    What I do when I’m not working: When I'm not working, I try to focus on spending quality time with my family doing some of the things we love, like travelling, cooking and volunteering with charitable organizations in my community. I also run a non-profit organization which is focused on empowering young girls and women of African descent with resources to help them develop both economically and personally.



    Laura Rowley

    Significant challenges facing new workplace entrants: 1. Opportunities to connect and network 2. Difficulty or lack of experience with formal communication, written

    Contribution: By exploring creative ideas as well as proven methods with other board members, staff, and students (past and present) to develop a strategy that will lead to successful employment for every graduate.

    What I do when I’m not working: When I am not working or doing work related activities, I can be found spending time with my husband and our two daughters, ages 13 and 16, and our two rescue dogs. We spend a lot of time at basket ball games, girl scout meetings and dance or piano recitals, etc. We are busy like every family with active children but in our free time we like play board games, garden, and bake.

    Steve Scarpino

    Significant challenges facing new workplace entrants: 1. How to work in a diverse business where everyone should feel comfortable to bring their whole selves to work; 2. Understanding the ethical implications of your decision-making process

    Contribution: Given I have 34 years of experience in diverse global organizations, including 17 years in the field of ethics and compliance, I’m excited to help graduate students be better prepared when they enter (or re-enter) the workforce.

    What I do when I'm not working: Exercise, working out and run a 5K each day. Photography. Career planning and mentoring to many colleagues, including many who are involved in start-up businesses.

    Steve Schroeder

    Significant challenges facing new workplace entrants: 1. Companies drive for efficiency, including through technology 2. Pace of change in industry and within companies

    Contribution: Help students connect academics studies with workplace application. Provide workplace organizational behavior insights; Demonstrate the value of servant leadership; share creative ideas to enhance students' confidence; bring globally inquisitive perspective.

    What I do when I’m not working: While not working, I enjoy spending time in the great outdoors. Mountain biking is currently my greatest outdoor passion. While attending SHSU years ago, I started up a Mountain Ski Club and organized trips for interested students. I also enjoy spending time with my wife and son. My parents were raised on farms and after retirement, moved back to the country, where I often now visit.

    David Hawkins

    Significant challenges facing new workplace entrants: The increased use of automated resume scanning technologies, combined with corporate applicant pre-screening protocols make face-to-face interactions very difficult. New College degreed applicants are smart, ambitious, and eager to contribute. Our job is to help prepare them in positioning themselves to be the applicant who successfully navigates the screening process and ultimately is the candidate who receives the job offer.

    Contribution: I have worked in fortune 500 companies my entire career. As a field trainer and periodic interviewer, I am intimately aware of the atmosphere within which many companies hire new employees. For example, soft skills are more and more important. Additionally, I have personally worked with recent college graduates as an interview and resume writing coach for almost 30 years. The combination of corporate experience and personal coaching background have me uniquely positioned to contribute to the Board and to the students of Sam Houston State University.

    Family, reading, water sports, and an exercise routine which includes cycling, swimming, and weights keep me busy when not working.

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