Dr. Atiera Coleman’10 is an amazing mentor because of the mentorship she received when she herself was a Beloit College student.
For many, a Beloit education ignites a fire for lifelong learning and excellence just like it did for Dr. Atiera Coleman’10. Her experiences at Beloit as a Wisconsin Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participant (WiscAMP) and as a McNair Scholar were instrumental in preparing her with the skills and credentials she needed to pursue a PhD in sociology.
Through the McNair Program, she completed an internship in Milwaukee, which is where she completed her graduate and doctorate work in sociology. Dr. Coleman returned to Beloit College in 2015 to direct the McNair Scholars Program and is now the Associate Dean for Student Success, Equity & Community.
She credits her success as a Beloit College staff member to the exceptional mentorship and education she received when she was a student here. “I came here as a 17-year-old who didn’t really have the motivation to do the best that I could, but people saw my potential and reached out to make sure that I was involved in programming that would move my academic and professional career along,” said Coleman.
“Having now taught at different institutions, I can say that the small classrooms and the accountability within those small classrooms help students better develop critical thinking skills, collaboration, and hands on learning. I see a stark difference in our undergraduates’ hunger to learn, and it’s why I wanted to come back to Beloit.”
When reflecting on her Beloit education, Atiera credited several faculty members who saw her potential and pushed her to be her best. Through a class with Professor Kate Linnenberg she fell in love with sociology and was shepherded through the graduate application process. Professor Lisa Anderson-Levy taught her how to interrogate the discipline of anthropology and to challenge what was being taught. Professor Debra Majeed kept her accountable to always work to her full potential and “was a great mentor while I was a student, after I graduated, and even when I came back as a staff member.”
Beloit’s size and culture facilitates a unique level of mentorship not found at other colleges. As part of her full-circle journey from student to staff member, Atiera is proud “to have the ability to make equitable change, and to be in the rooms in which major decisions are developed.” She has used her education both undergraduate and graduate to make changes at Beloit, and she credits the McNair program advising as the pull to return to Beloit because she loves seeing students grow and mature through the program.