December 09, 2014

The mentor’s side: Mathew Park

Dr. Mathew Park is a full-time professor in Sport Psychology at John F. Kennedy University in Pleasant Hill, California, and has pioneered a program using music to help heal people facing serious medical issues.

As successful as Park is in his field, he has chosen to increase his impact on the world by serving as a mentor for the Tiger Woods Foundation’s Earl Woods Scholarship Program.

The Earl Woods Scholarship Program (EWSP) provides a phenomenal support network for gifted young men and women, many of who are first-generation college students, navigating through college as the first in their families to receive a college education.

At age 32, it wasn’t long ago that Park was a young college student trying to find his way, not just academically, but through life.

The mentor experience

Park used that first-hand knowledge to help his current mentee, Alemar, who is an undergraduate student at Stanford University and was recently accepted into the education graduate program at Stanford.

“We attempt to meet in person quarterly (and) talk and chat on the phone, email and Facebook more regularly,” Park said. “In the past we have taken road trips to attend Tiger Woods Foundation events and meet with other mentors and mentees. During these times we discuss a lot about life, goals both educationally and personally and about various relationships.”

What do you enjoy about being a mentor?

Park: “I have always loved inspiring people and guiding folks toward a path of personal success; whatever success may look like to them. As an Earl Woods Scholarship Program mentor, I have been able to rub lives with incredible individuals and movers and shakers from the next generation.

Having had many mentors in my life and how much they have impacted and guided my steps to where I am now, it is an incredible opportunity and honor to pay it forward and to be a part of the growth and development of the next generation.”

What have you learned from your mentee?

Park: “I feel so lucky to have met my mentee as he has inspired me so much in so many ways. First off, he is a leader. Great leaders have heart, passion and wisdom, and my mentee has it all. He has taught me that it is not okay to simply sit in silence if injustice is occurring around us.”

What advice would you give to other mentors?

Park: “Often times, when we are open to listening both with our ears and our hearts, we can break the power dynamic of this incredible relationship. I was open to the idea of my mentee teaching me and having him educate me about his life, and so, by creating this equal dynamic from the very beginning, I felt that my mentee was comfortable opening up with me and sharing his life experience with me.

Had I kept a power dynamic and the relationship was only “one-way” (mentor teaching mentee), I may not have been able to establish the bond, trust, and experiences we created early on. All this to say… I think it has been incredibly helpful to remain humble in this relationship dynamic while also guiding and leading young leaders from the program.”

Stay tuned for the remainder of our mentor series. For more information on the Earl Woods Scholarship Program and becoming a mentor, please visit the program website