Mentoring has existed as part of Ball State’s DNA for many years. From faculty-student research mentorships to the Honors College peer mentoring program of 30 years—mentoring opportunities abound. In response to the University’s Destination 2040 strategic plan, the Ball State Alumni Council committed to making alumni-to-alumni mentoring a key priority. Today, mentoring programs are being developed in each college alongside well-established, vibrant programs such as the SOAR program within Miller College of Business and the True Cardinal Mentoring program for football alumni and current players. 

Recently, the Top 100 Mentoring Program was established alongside the Top 100 Student Awards—a program established in 2021 that recognizes outstanding students who represent Beneficence inside and outside the classroom through academic excellence, campus leadership, and community impact. The mentoring program gives past Top 100 recipients the opportunity to be paired with a mentor based on their career interests and aspirations.

Top 100 awardee Clayton Coll, B.S. ‘22, has known since high school that he wanted to play for the NFL and then go to medical school. As a Ball State football student-athlete and graduate student, Clayton has found mentoring to be a valuable experience while navigating his career plans. Clayton, who has also participated in the True Cardinal football mentoring program, was paired with Ebonee Cooper Doblasse, B.S. ‘06, M.S. ‘10 as part of the Top 100 mentoring program. Both Ebonee and Clayton share similar academic backgrounds in biology and pre-medicine.  

Ebonee, a One Ball State Day ambassador and former board member of the Black Alumni Council, is thrilled to participate in the Top 100 Mentoring Program. For her, mentoring “has been quite a rewarding experience to be able to connect with a fellow alumni member and discuss his goals for the future.” Ebonee, too, had plans to pursue medical school after graduation. “I completed my bachelor’s and master’s degrees with the intention of becoming a medical doctor. While working for a medical scribe company, I was given the unique role to travel across the US, expanding their programs in many specialties. From this experience, I was exposed to clinical research, which led me to become a Clinical Trial Manager.” 

Clayton reflected on his mentoring experiences: “mentoring is important because my mentors have different perspectives on life that have added great value to my life, especially since they have been through similar experiences as me.” During their conversations together, Ebonee believes that “mentoring should be a safe space for the mentee to ask questions as they begin their careers. Being able to provide answers and life experiences that I wasn’t provided after graduating is an amazing opportunity to have.” 

As Clayton continues pursuing his goals, he’s learned that “sometimes life takes a different path than expected, and you should take it on with optimism because you may like it more than your original plan.” Of Clayton, Ebonee applauded his preparation and vision: “My mentee is probably more prepared for life than I ever was at that age. He knows what steps to take to achieve his goals and has a steady backup plan. He is able to state exactly what he wants from life. This is an important lesson we can all use.” 

Mentoring opportunities are available to all alumni through Cardinals Connect, the Ball State-only platform for alumni and students to connect with other graduates and potential employers—empowering them to expand their professional networks.   

To learn more about Cardinals Connect, visit 

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