WGU Indiana prides itself on its robust Mentor Program. It’s the secret to many WGU success stories you may learn about, and Carol Crawn, a WGU Indiana alumna and program mentor, is no exception.
Carol began her career teaching developmental preschool with her elementary education license. She developed a strong passion for helping students and their families navigate life with disabilities through this work.
From there, she went on to become an elementary special education teacher followed by a few years as a math and reading interventionist for an online public school. In 2012, she received her Master's in Special Education from WGU Indiana and now serves as a program mentor to other students working toward earning their degree.
Now, Carol lives with her family in Brownsburg, Ind., working for WGU as an Education Program Mentor for students. Carol’s drive to help those with disabilities doesn’t stop at the classroom. She is also an assistant coach for her daughter’s special needs soccer team and has been for the past eight years. In her free time, she loves spending time with family, camping, baking and going to Colts games.
In this student spotlight, Carol shares what led her to become a Program Mentor at WGU, her mentorship roles and responsibilities and her experience thus far with WGU and her students.
What is your leadership and mentorship style? How does this translate into success for your students?
My leadership style varies based on the individual student. I use a mixture of coaching, pace setting and visionary styles. Each student needs a different approach at different times. I am direct when letting the student know what it will take to complete their degree. This translates to success because I start by building a strong foundation in the relationship between the student and myself. It also allows me to approach each student's journey differently. The relationship allows me to tell the student what they need to hear as well as share in the joys of their success.
In your own words, how would you describe the role and responsibilities of a Program Mentor?
We are the student’s biggest cheerleader, accountability partner and support system. We listen and provide the best guidance to get the students to graduation. This includes connecting the student with resources early on to help remove any possible barriers for the student.
What is one lasting memory with a student you have from your time as a Program Mentor thus far?
I remember the resilience of a lot of my students. One, in particular, got married, had a devastating house fire, and a miscarriage all within three months. She was comfortable enough to come to me with all of this to help her. We made a plan that enabled her to accelerate in her courses. She was able to graduate in three terms.
What words of encouragement would you share with anyone considering a new career path or the pursuit of a degree from WGU Indiana?
Most students love the concept of competency-based learning and the low cost of attending WGU. These concepts may get you in the door, but you will leave with a wealth of practical knowledge to use in your career. You will work hard, demonstrate self-motivation and build strong relationships while at WGU. These are all skills future employers seek from their employees. WGU sets you up for this type of success.