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Oklahoma State University

OSU students nominate mentoring champs

Wed, January 10, 2018

Two coordinators in the Division of Institutional Diversity at Oklahoma State University have been nominated by students to be among 70 mentoring champions who will be honored during Oklahoma Mentor Day, on Friday, Jan. 19, in Norman.

Dene Roseburr

Dene Roseburr-Olotu and Julie Swaringim-Griffin are staffers in the Division of Institutional Diversity at OSU who have roles working directly with students to assist in leadership and retention.

As coordinator of the Inclusion Leadership program, Roseburr-Olotu encourages college sophomores as well as high school juniors and seniors to be leaders. After a monthly visit from the high school students, she rides the bus back to Oklahoma City with them and takes the time to answer not only college admission questions but “life” questions as well. The same goes for the college sophomores. She spends hours visiting with them about becoming their best self. From their academic performance to professionalism and adulthood, Roseburr-Olotu is there to listen to their concerns. These are her “kids.”

Swaringim-Griffin, coordinator of the Retention Initiative for Student Excellence Program (RISE) in the Division of Institutional Diversity, has an open door policy for the college freshmen she assists. She meets with them individually at least once each month and each week as necessary. Her office is surrounded by thank you notes, not only because she is teaching the skill of writing thank you notes to new college freshmen, she is also receiving them from students herself in appreciation for all that she does for them.

Julie Swaringm-Griffin

After some time with the students, Swaringim-Griffin noticed a recurring story — some were going hungry. She decided to bring food to the office for those who had already spent their money on their meal plans only to find themselves short of food by the end of the semester. The food pantry she set up is used by students with no questions asked. Swaringim-Griffin’s act is not in her job description, but out of the kindness of her heart.

Others from OSU who were nominated by students for their mentoring work include Kate Sanders, Samuel Lewallen, Taz Ellett, and Stacy Allen.

The Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence launched the David and Molly Boren Mentoring Initiative in 2006 to promote the growth and development of quality youth mentoring programs statewide. The initiative grew out of the Borens’ own commitment to mentoring and the proven impact it can play on a student’s success in and out of the classroom.

For more information about Oklahoma Mentor Day, go online to