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Stony Brook student facilitates conversation with former Obama aide

A photo of Amelia Chicas. The sophomore economics student spoke and facilitated a dialogue with Reggie Love at the 20th annual Mentoring Matters Conference. PHOTO COURTESY OF AMELIA CHICAS

Stony Brook University student Amelia Chicas, a sophomore majoring in economics, was chosen to facilitate a conversation with former aide to President Barack Obama, Reggie Love.

Chicas was selected to run the discussion by the organization MENTOR NY, which seeks to connect young students with mentors that help guide them through their lives and careers. The discussion was run on Friday, March 31 at MENTOR NY’s 20th annual Mentoring Matters Conference. 

In addition, Chicas is involved with Delta Sigma Pi, a professional business fraternity, and serves as the organization’s chair of diversity, equity and inclusion.

Chicas said that her previous experience with MENTOR NY helped her obtain the position. The group also helped her attain an internship. 

“I invited the CEO and two of her colleagues to come to talk to [Delta Sigma Pi] and it was basically like a panel event that I hosted myself and I had to facilitate the questions,” Chicas said. “That was my first time doing that, but they liked it so much that they reached out to me for this mentoring conference to facilitate the same type of event with Reggie.”

Brenda Jimez, chief executive officer of MENTOR NY, said that Chicas’s previous experiences with the organization convinced them that she would be the right person to run the conversation.

“I was able to experience her facilitation abilities firsthand and knew that she would be an excellent young leader,” Jimez wrote in an email to The Statesman. “It’s been an honor to be part of Amelia’s journey and see her step into these opportunities!”

Chicas says she hoped to tap into her experience as a moderator to run the conversation as best she can. She highlighted that the best way to do so is to make sure she isn’t drilling the interviewee and instead steer it in the direction of a casual conversation.

“I wanted to speak with him about his time as Barack Obama’s employee, and how he was able to show up as himself even though he was maybe at times the least experienced person in the room,” Chicas said. “And I feel like I relate to that because I’ve only had one internship so far. One major internship and I was the youngest in the office or the most diverse.” 

According to MENTOR NY’s website, “The virtual conference brings together mentoring and youth development professionals from across the state to explore innovative practices in the field.”

Jimez said that Chicas’s experience as a young professional preparing to enter the workforce will provide a unique perspective to the conversation, one different from an experienced professional who is far removed from the realities of college and career exploration. She also noted that Chicas can hold a strong conversation due to reading Love’s biography, as well as her ability to conceptualize and work with innovative ideas.

Chicas said that she hopes viewers will take away the importance of mentoring from the discussion and the panel as a whole.

“I’d say that the main thing that I want people to get out of this conference is the fact that mentoring matters,” Chicas said. “In the workplace, especially, it’s really important for adults to be able to facilitate the idea that it’s okay not to know and that’s why their roles as mentors are really important.”

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About the Contributor
Sky Crabtree, Assistant News Editor
Sky Crabtree is an Assistant News Editor for The Statesman and a sophomore studying journalism and political science. He joined the paper in the spring of 2023 as a news reporter and was promoted at the end of the same semester. Outside of The Statesman, you can catch him reporting on WUSB's weekly news show and as a member of the Stony Brook Media Group.
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