Elizabeth Shewmaker volunteers with College Mentors for Kids at Purdue. Now in her third year with the organization, Shewmaker partners with children from Glen Acres Elementary School in Lafayette, spending time doing activities related to culture and diversity, economics, community service and higher education. During her time at Purdue, she has helped low-income children in a small community in El Paso, Texas and also visited New Orleans to assist in rebuilding in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Hometown: Georgetown, Ind.
Year in school: Senior
Major: Chemical Engineering
Career goal: Work in the industry and volunteer. In the long term, get a master’s degree in education and teach math and science to children.
Why she volunteers: Shewmaker believes volunteering is a great way to learn and evolve as a person.
On why mentoring is her thing: Shewmaker wants to be a role model for those younger than her and help them succeed in life. “It’s important to point children towards college and get them thinking about the importance of education,” she said of her role as a mentor for College Mentors for Kids. She also “buddies up” with first-year engineering students through the Women in Engineering Mentee and Mentor program and tutors freshman students once a week through the Women in Engineering Residential Program.
Pay it forward: “My parents raised me to look out for others and my sisters spent a lot of time looking after me. I didn’t have any younger siblings to take care of and thought this would be a good way to help out.” Helping others became her cause and she hopes that she can pass the torch to others by getting them involved in programs that are meaningful to them.
‘Tis the season: Thanksgiving and Christmas hold special meaning for Shewmaker. She enjoys time with family but also considers it a good time to reflect on what she has. “You learn a lot just by being with family, learning from their experiences. Of course, eating turkey is fabulous, too!”
Her two cents: Shewmaker makes an appeal to everyone to lend a hand and help community members, even if it is just giving one hour a week. “You do not need to have too much time, any special skill set, or extra money. You just have to be willing. Sometimes you just have to look in your own backyard to see someone reaching out for help.”
Her role models: Her parents.
Her favorite pastime: Swinging on the swing set.
What you may not know: She can pick up things with her toes.