Kamille Montgomery ’24: Providing Peer Mentoring Opportunities to Women of Color Through Dimensions

Serving as a peer mentor to Syracuse University’s undergraduate women of color means the world to Kamille Montgomery ’24.

Dean Kelly Chandler-Olcott and Kamille Montgomery ’25
Dean Kelly Chandler-Olcott congratulates Kamille Montgomery’24 on her Dimension mentoring award.

When it comes to fostering a strong relationship between herself and her mentees, Montgomery understands that representation matters, and being able to relate to the students she advises is just as important as the advice being offered.

Montgomery and her fellow student mentors with the Dimensions Mentoring Program—a peer-to-peer group designed to help women of color support and empower each other as they navigate their college journeys—have been helping first-year and transfer women of color successfully acclimate to life on campus through engaging programs and meaningful mentorship.

The result? Members of Dimensions form a true sisterhood and strengthen their leadership and professional development skills through weekly meetings that focus on pertinent topics like acclimating to college life, building community, setting goals, mental health awareness, career-oriented support and more.

“Dimensions offers a support system of people who are going through the same journey together. If I can provide advice and guidance for incoming first-year students, that’s such an important way to help out. Dimensions offers an opportunity to build those relationships and make students feel like they’re not alone on their journeys,” says Montgomery, an early childhood and special education major in the School of Education.

On Friday, Dimensions is holding its Women’s History Month reception from 4-6 p.m. in Room 304 ABC in the Schine Student Center. SU News sat down with Montgomery to learn more about the powerful impact of Dimensions, where her passion for education came from and how she will put her degree to use in the City of Syracuse through the Baldanza Fellows program.

How beneficial has it been for you to serve as a peer mentor through Dimensions?

Mentorship is about providing support in a judgement-free zone. Just being able to provide support, give advice, offer a helping hand or lend an ear for someone who needs someone to talk to is invaluable and makes it easier to get through the issues facing college students.

As a first-year student, you’re wide-eyed and wondering what you need to do and how you will achieve your goals. Having someone who has been through that before and can offer advice is really important. As a mentor, I want to make sure the students I’m mentoring feel at home while they’re at Syracuse University. That’s the whole goal of Dimensions: to provide a home away from home.

How did you become interested in early childhood and special education?

Dean Kelly Chandler-Olcott and Kamille Montgomery
Dean Kelly Chandler-Olcott and Kamille Montgomery ’25 (both left) at the 2024 Dimension Women’s History Month reception on March 22.

I grew up around a lot of women who worked in education, including teachers and principals, and my great-grandmother owned a preschool, so I always thought about this field.

When I was a senior in high school, I did an internship in an elementary school art room and worked with children in kindergarten and first grade. Just seeing their minds develop as they were learning was eye-opening for me. I had never felt that way about any other career options before, and I knew this was what I was meant to do with the rest of my life. That was a turning point for me.

What are your plans after graduation?

I’ll be coming back for my master’s in literacy education from the School of Education. After that, I’ll be in Syracuse for another three years teaching in the Syracuse City School District through the Baldanza Fellows program. I’m really looking forward to making a difference teaching in the city of Syracuse.

Learn more about the undergraduate degree program in Inclusive Elementary and Special Education (Grades 1-6), B.S. or contact Heather Macknik, Assistant Director of Undergraduate Admissions and Recruitment, at soeadmissions@syr.edu or 315.443.4269.

Originally published by SU News.