David Mena

David grows from mentee to mentor

David came to Iowa State to study civil engineering. However, after a few classes he realized he didn’t feel it was the right place for him. He did a little research and found the dietetics program and switched his major.

“I didn’t feel the magnetism that I felt toward interacting with individuals over food,” he said. “So when the College of Human Sciences introduced me to dietetics, I did some extensive research, and every step of the way I loved what I was reading. I was excited about it and couldn’t wait to get started.”

In addition to switching his major, David knew he wanted to get involved. During his summer orientation, members of Connect Four, a group for multicultural students, started encouraging him to join.

David went to the first meeting and started introducing himself to people right away. As he started meeting more and more people, he began introducing them to each other. David decided to stay in Connect Four and was given a mentor, who encouraged him to become a mentor himself.

“When I was a mentee, my mentor said he felt I was mentoring him, so I thought it might be fun,” he said.

By his junior year, David applied to be a senior mentor, a paid position where he trains the future mentors coming in. He also gets to plan events for the groups and get a more behind the scenes look at how the program works. David said he is grateful he joined the group.

“Through Connect Four I’ve gotten my success at the university,” he said. “I received my position as a Cyclone Aid, became more confident on campus, and helped me not be afraid to apply for things. It also helped me realize how to be more comfortable with who I am as a person.”

“It’s a weird connection,” she said. “But nutrition teaches a lot about diseases. And usually the mouth is the first place an illness starts to show. Plus, it sets me apart from other students with just the biology background.”