Tricia McLean Rowe and Matia Alinaitwe

Commonwealth Scholar Matia Alinaitwe joined the Mentoring Programme in 2020-2021 as a Mentee. At the time, Matia was studying for a master’s in Geographic Information Systems. He applied to the programme to receive guidance from a Mentor with expertise in the same sector.

Matia was paired with Commonwealth Alumnus Tricia McLean Rowe. Tricia is from Jamaica and has over 15 years’ experience working in GIS. She applied to the programme to develop her skills as a Mentor.

You can read about their experiences below.

Headshot of Tricia McLean Rowe

Tricia McLean Rowe, Mentor

Why I applied

I must say, my overall mentoring experience was an excellent one, and one which I wish I had while I was undertaking my studies through distance learning at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. It was refreshing to find that the Mentee with whom I was paired, Matia, was knowledgeable, flexible, and open to new ideas and learning. He had an insatiable thirst for knowledge and used many of his free sessions to gain a better understanding of the GIS industry and the various software related to the industry.

Using time wisely

From the onset, Matia and I both set realistic goals as to what we wanted to achieve from the mentorship programme. My mentee was very supportive, and we worked hand in hand to achieve our goals. Due to the time difference between the two countries, we scheduled our discussions at appropriate times. With this commitment, my Mentee was able to effectively meet all his deadlines.

Cross-country pairing

During the mentorship program, we both recognised that with my over fifteen years’ experience in the GIS industry will continue to assist Matia with his understanding of that subject area as this was his main study area.

Sharing knowledge and expertise

I loved that I was paired with a Mentee from another country as it gave both of us the opportunity to learn about each other’s country. I have always wanted to learn more about the African continent, particularly as I have come to realise that we share similar foods and some cultural aspects. It was therefore refreshing to hear first-hand from Matia about some of these practices, given my dreams about visiting the African continent.

Tricia McLean Rowe is a 2015 Commonwealth Distance Learner Scholar from Jamaica. She completed a LLM in IT & Telecommunications from University of Strathclyde.

Headshot of Matia Alinaitwe

Matia Alinaitwe, Mentee

Connecting with my mentor

I must say, my overall mentoring experience was an excellent one, and one which I wish I had while I was undertaking my studies through distance learning at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. It was refreshing to find that the Mentee with whom I was paired, Matia, was knowledgeable, flexible, and open to new ideas and learning. He had an insatiable thirst for knowledge and used many of his free sessions to gain a better understanding of the GIS industry and the various software related to the industry.

Setting goals

I set my short-term goals personally and shared them with Mrs Rowe and she appreciated them, well knowing they were achievable.

One of my short-term goals was to interact with a person who had been in the same situation as mine, taking me through how to be able to adhere to deadlines even in stressful times. She helped me with handling my assignments by giving me the hint of prioritising my work. I could do the much-needed assignments or the assignments with the shortest due dates and those with long due dates would be done last. 

Cross country pairing

I was so happy when I got paired with a Mentor from a country that I always heard about but didn’t know much about it. It gave me the opportunity to understand more about Jamaica and appreciate the culture. I am still in touch with my Mentor and hope one day to visit her country and even her to visit my country. We talk about many things about our countries, not limited to culture, ambitions, politics, latest developments in our fields of study, and families to mention but a few.

Matia Alinaitwe is a 2020 Commonwealth Split-site Scholar from Uganda. He completed an MSc in Geographic Information Systems from University of Aberdeen.