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Chris Dowhaniuk made the most of his college experience. Through mentoring, he’s showing students how they can, too.

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Sometimes, the things we do for others that seem small open unexpected paths to a brighter future. It’s one of the reasons Chris Dowhaniuk ’18, volunteers as a mentor with the Business Leaders Scholars program. 

November 29, 2022

Sometimes, the things we do for others that seem small open unexpected paths to a brighter future.

It’s one of the reasons Chris Dowhaniuk ’18, volunteers as a mentor with the Business Catalyst Scholars program. 

Sharing advice with current students about landing an internship, getting settled and tapping into helpful resources on campus only takes an hour or so of his time each month. It gives Dowhaniuk a good feeling.

“I had an awesome college experience,” said Dowhaniuk, who works as an industrial broker at Kidder Matthews, a Portland commercial real estate brokerage firm. “I want to give back to help students have the same or even better experiences.”

The Business Catalyst Scholars program matches alumni volunteers who offer professional mentoring to current students. The program also offers financial support and advice, employment and check-ins, all aimed at helping them succeed in school and graduate on time. 

Dowhaniuk attended La Salle Catholic College Preparatory, where he excelled as a scholar and athlete. He chose to attend Oregon State for the college town and opportunities in the business program.

“It felt like a second home,” Dowhaniuk said. 

Although he was primed for college, it was still overwhelming. 

“I took a lot of credits my freshman year, and I was getting involved with Greek life. There were a lot of commitments,” he said.

Dowhaniuk was juggling his coursework, fraternity responsibilities and early career development as well as other activities.

“I was stretching myself a little thin,” he said. “The biggest challenge was balancing my time.”

Dowhaniuk counts his parents among his greatest mentors and is grateful they were able to listen to his issues and help him settle and feel assured. Both his parents attended college. But he knows that isn’t the case for everyone.

The first student Dowhaniuk mentored shares a strong family bond like he has with his parents. Joseph Hartsook is studying supply chain and logistics management and is in the Air Force ROTC program.

Being a good mentor starts with listening, Dowhaniuk says. After hearing that Hartsook went home to visit his family most weekends, Dowhaniuk suggested he try staying on campus.

“It’s okay to get out of your comfort zone and take advantage of all the opportunities Oregon State provides,” Dowhaniuk said.

Having Dowhaniuk as a mentor encouraged Hartsook to take more initiative with his future. Hartsook says that, now instead of waiting for opportunities, he is seeking them, and that other students now look to him for answers.

Jennifer Villalobos, assistant director of career success and student engagement at the College of Business, remembers Dowhaniuk from when he was vice president of the Real Estate Club and she was the club’s advisor. Villalobos recruited Dowhaniuk as a mentor when their paths crossed at an event at OSU Portland Center.

“Chris is willing to be involved and wants to give back by providing time to our students as they navigate their next steps in preparing for their career journey,” Villalobos said.

The College of Business is looking for other alumni mentors who want to inspire and would enjoy having conversations with students.

With mentoring, you may not know when an impact is happening, Villalobos says. “But you can look back and see that it changed a life,” she said.

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