January 24, 2017
Q&A with Colton Selin
By Colton Selin and Anh Huynh
Currently a third-year undergraduate majoring in economics with a minor in entrepreneurship, Colton Selin serves as one of the High School Leads (HSL) at Auburn High School and as a co-lead for Dream Project’s Advancement team. Selin started out as a mentor for Health Sciences and Human Services High School (HS3) and transportation co-lead for Admissions Workshop Weekend (AWW) in 2015 before quickly moving into positions of advanced leadership. In this newsletter, Selin shared with us his motivations for joining Dream Project, his experience with the program, and how it has influenced his professional aspirations.
What do you do in your roles?
As an HSL, I act as a mentor for mentors. Essentially the position encompasses all that is necessary to ensure productive visits and cooperative involvement between the Dream Project and Auburn High School. My responsibilities cover communication with Auburn administration, the development of breakouts, meeting attendance, mentor support, and above all else mentee support.
As a member of Advancement, I assist with directing the development, partnership, and expansion of the Dream Project. Collectively our department focuses on the ways in which this organization broadens its impact through greater funding and exposure. Recently the majority of our efforts have involved alumni connections and outreach.
Why did you join Dream Project?
I initially joined the Dream Project based on the recommendation of a friend. He was aware of my interest in pursuing a career in nonprofit management and felt as though Dream Project’s mission would align well with my personal ideals. He was correct. I saw this organization as an opportunity to support high school students as well as an opportunity for personal growth.
Why did you apply to be an HSL? Why did you join Advancement?
I applied for leadership within the Dream Project as a means of expanding my involvement. I was intrigued by the idea that I could assist in promoting the mission and further progressing the impact of this organization. The HSL position provides the environment necessary to gain a comprehensive understanding of this organization. I am extremely appreciative of the lessons instilled in me by my HSLs. I consider it an honor to do the same for those that decide to mentor at Auburn. In regards to Advancement, I hope to gain a greater knowledge of nonprofit structure and fundraising strategy. These skills should translate well to my future career aspirations.
What’s your favorite part about being an HSL?
I am very grateful for the relationships I have developed as an HSL. The position provides connections to other departments within Dream Project and the ability to meet other ambitious students. Auburn has a particularly welcoming atmosphere and throughout my experience there I have always felt at home. As an HSL, I am given the ability to act upon my ideas and to coordinate with other student leaders.
What do you hope to accomplish as an HSL and Advancement lead?
As an HSL I hope to well equip my mentors with the skill set necessary to appropriately support their mentees and to have a better understanding of education access and social mobility. As a member of Advancement, I hope to install sustainable means of generating funding.
What’s your favorite memory related to Dream Project?
My first quarter in the Dream Project, a mentee of mine was accepted to UW Tacoma. I will never forget the expression that stretched across his face–pure bliss. All of his efforts had come to fruition. He had reached his goal and earned acceptance to a great institution.
How do you think your experience with Dream Project has influenced/will influence your education and career paths?
I hope to pursue a career in nonprofit management. Dream Project has provided tangible experience within the nonprofit sector. I now have a greater understanding of organizational structure and the skills necessary for strong leadership.
What is your post-graduation plan?
That is a great question. I would like to potentially pursue my master’s in economics or in public policy and governance. Alternatively, a position involving resource management at a well-established and impactful organization would also be ideal. I am particularly interested in organizations that focus on empowerment and sustainability. These models tend to derive greater long-term impact when compared to lump-sum aid. Krochet Kids, Charity: Water, and Povertees are examples to name a few.
Looking back, what advice would you give yourself when you were a high school senior about how to make the most of your college experience?
Explore. Take the time to investigate your passions and to become as involved as possible. Your institution provides an abundance of resources so make the most of them. Take an unusual class, join a club, and never cease to pursue.
What advice do you have for incoming HSLs?
HSL is a position that provides a reciprocal benefit. In other words, you get out what you put in. If you go about your involvement casually and invest little, it is not fair to expect a comprehensive experience. However, if you truly engulf yourself, personal growth and improvement are assured. Approach the opportunity with an open mind, absorb new information, and understand how crucial your role is.