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“Off The Clock” is a series in which we celebrate the many ways ECS employees commit themselves to worthy causes outside of work.

EXCELLENCE. GRIT. DRIVE. COMMUNITY.  

EXCELLENCE. GRIT. DRIVE. COMMUNITY.  

EXCELLENCE. GRIT. DRIVE. COMMUNITY.  

EXCELLENCE. GRIT. DRIVE. COMMUNITY.  

EXCELLENCE. GRIT. DRIVE. COMMUNITY.  

EXCELLENCE. GRIT. DRIVE. COMMUNITY.  

EXCELLENCE. GRIT. DRIVE. COMMUNITY.  

EXCELLENCE. GRIT. DRIVE. COMMUNITY.  

In this installment, we interview Raeeq Osman, project manager at ECS. Raeeq volunteers as a student mentor for Spark the Journey, a non-profit that provides one-to-one mentoring to low-income students in the Washington, D.C. area, as well as college and career success programming. The organization awarded Raeeq 2022 Mentor of the Year.

Raeeq Osman
Project Manager at ECS

Q: How did you get involved with Spark the Journey? What compelled you to become a mentor for students?

After finishing grad school (M.S. in Information Systems Technology from George Washington University), I benefitted hugely from a series of professional mentors. I felt like I could make that same impact on a younger student. I’ve always believed in giving back to your community in some measure, but I really wanted to be that person for someone who perhaps didn’t have access to the same resources I’d had.

Q: What are the biggest challenges and rewards of mentoring students?

One significant challenge I faced was impostor syndrome or the fear that my mentee wouldn’t listen or be engaged due to our age gap. Thankfully, those fears turned out to be baseless. This program also requires a strong, long-term commitment (meeting biweekly for two years), which was further complicated by COVID-19.

The best reward is seeing the tangible benefits of your work. There were positive developments in the mentee’s life and school/career progression that I had the privilege of playing a real part in. He wants to pursue a career in IT consulting, which is near and dear to my heart obviously.

Q: Does anyone in your life support your involvement or provide inspiration?

I have a previous manager who developed into both a significant mentor in my life and a real friend. He is someone I still keep in touch with. Having positive figures in your life is critical, because they give you a concrete example to follow. I’ve also drawn inspiration from the other mentors I work with who have similar backgrounds and have faced much of the same adversity I have.

Q: What would you tell someone who is considering volunteering for the first time?

Before you volunteer for the first time, consider your own experience and struggles. If you can tie a personal connection to a volunteer opportunity, that will help fuel a real, lasting commitment. That connection also makes the work even more rewarding, because you can identify with the people you’re helping on a more personal level.

“Off The Clock” is a series in which we celebrate the many ways ECS employees commit themselves to worthy causes outside of work.

Learn more about how philanthropy, volunteering, and giving back are central to ECS’ culture.

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