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Mentors That Go the Mile: D.J. Thomas

D.J. Thomas
DJ Thomas, Student Retention Initiatives staff member. Photo by Ben Krain.

In celebration of National Mentoring Month, UA Little Rock is highlighting mentors who are making a difference in the lives of students at UA Little Rock.

D.J. Thomas, a native of Pine Bluff, serves as a student success coach for the Student Affairs Diversity Initiative at UA Little Rock.

1. Why did you choose to become a mentor?

I wanted to reciprocate the love, help, and support that was given to me when I was a college student. I wanted to be a person who provided a space for students to thrive and to reach their fullest potential by giving insights and principles that helped shape me into the person I am today.

2. What is your opinion on the importance of having a mentor in college?

You need a mentor to help navigate the challenges and courses that college presents. We are not built to operate in isolation. We are built with the design to operate in the community. And that’s what students need when they come to college.

3. What do you enjoy most about mentorship? 

I enjoy the growth and development that takes place in my students. I like hearing good news and testimonies about how I helped and/or influenced them.

4. What is the hardest part about being a mentor?

The hardest thing about being a mentor is getting your students to see what you see in them.

5. How would you describe your personal mentoring style?

I don’t necessarily have a “personal mentoring style.” My methods change based on the needs of the student. However, I do try my best to be truthful and compassionate.

6. What leaders do you look up to for inspiration?

Dr. Phillip L. Pointer, Pastor Justin Bilson, Elder Lamar Bailey, Kenneth Brown, and Dr. Gerald Parker Sr.

7. Is there anything you would like to add or advice for future mentors?

Mentoring is not about becoming popular in higher education. It is about maximizing a student’s potential and helping them become the person God wants them to be.