Words: Adrianna Wright ’01
Photos: Tony Hughes
As a first-year student, Kendra Paez ’22 longed for a mentor. “I tried to get one in a variety of ways but could never find a willing older female to consistently meet with to get advice on life,” Kendra explained. As a solution, Kendra started Presence, a women’s peer mentorship program that pairs a first- or second-year woman with a third- or fourth-year woman for the school year. Students are matched according to the desires of the younger student and mutual interests.
“I believe that all women should have the opportunity to be mentored and to have people in their life that they can turn to,” Kendra said. “The mission of the program is to promote growth and provide guidance in all areas of life to the female students at Wheaton College.”
In addition to Presence, Kendra serves her peers as a Student Ambassador at the Wheaton College Center for Vocation and Career (CVC). Here she provides career help and direction to a variety of Wheaton students and receives her own professional development training.
Kendra’s service is not limited to the Wheaton campus, however. As an Aequitas Fellow, she has interned at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and traveled to Costa Rica for a summer ministry trip with six other students.
“Being a part of the Aequitas Program in Urban Leadership has provided me with experiences that I would not have had the opportunity to do otherwise,” Kendra said.
Growing up near Chicago, Kendra was hesitant about coming to Wheaton since it was only an hour from her house. But she was drawn to the rigorous academics and strong Christian community at Wheaton, so she applied.
“When I did Wheaton Connection later that year, I knew that Wheaton was the place for me,” Kendra said.
An international relations and urban studies double major, Kendra will join the Peace Corps for two years in The Gambia upon graduation. She is excited to see what God inspires her to do next.