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Student Spotlight: Juliana Dunlap, Mentoree and Mentor

By Emily Popson, Intern

Juliana Dunlap

TAMPA (April 24, 2020) -- From the moment she stepped onto the University of South Florida campus, Juliana Dunlap knew this was her home for the next four years of her life. Her impact during those years, however, was something she never could have predicted.

During her freshman year, Dunlap was accepted into the Bulls Business Network and lived in the Bulls Business Community and right off, picked her student mentor. A BBC mentor is one of the first people first-year students connect with, providing a guaranteed, built-in support system. Mentors meet informally with their mentees almost every week to talk about how they are adjusting to being a college student. Mentors provide students with guidance throughout their academic, social and professional experiences. Her mentor, Samantha Martinez, dared Dunlap to move out of her comfort zone and expand her horizons.

After experiencing the first-hand benefits of mentoring, Dunlap became a mentor to two students during her second year. Students typically only stay in the BBN for two years, but Dunlap decided she wanted to stay on to continue helping first-year students with their transition into USF for a second year.

Currently, she mentors four students, working alongside someone she had previously mentored.

“Throughout my two years of being a mentor, my mentees have been from different backgrounds – like one was born in Colombia – and they all have different interests ranging from intramural tennis to mixing music,” she said. “Some of my mentees have work experience running restaurants and one aspires to work in the fashion industry.

“It is always humbling to talk with students who manage their own business or are so incredibly talented at their passions,” she said. “My mentees make me feel like my hard work was worth it.”

Her students have shown her how important it is to balance social and academic activities while in college. She has realized that everyone in college is having a different experience based on what they are passionate about and this has given her a different perspective on how to divide her time so that she can keep doing what she loves.

“I really enjoy getting to help other students and pass on any knowledge I may have about studying in the Muma College of Business,” she said. “Seeing their success in their own endeavors really inspires me to do my absolute best in my ambitions. I want to keep growing and become an even better person.”

Two of the most important lessons she has taken away from being a mentor are the value of servant leadership and putting others before yourself.

“I think it’s really important to make sure my mentees know they’re doing a good job and to praise them,” she said. “I kind of had to work on that a little bit.”

Dunlap continues to impact USF and the Muma College of Business through her endless volunteer work, including the Bull Haul to open houses to USF President Steve Currall’s inauguration.  

She has applied these values to other aspects of her life, including her role as president of the Women in Business Society. Dunlap became president in only her second year of college, often being the first person at meetings and events and the last to leave. To show the other executive board members how much she appreciated them, she writes them thank you notes and buys them small gifts or candy.

As president, she learned how to be confident when speaking in public. She discovered that she enjoyed hosting social events because it gave her the chance to build relationships with other business students.

“It is always fun to get to know people I see in class and make new friends who I know genuinely support me in my endeavors as I have the ability to support and mentor other girls too,” she said. “It also is like networking with people who will do amazing things, I know in a few years I will be able to contact these people and we will meet up over coffee or create better opportunities because of the connections we made now.”