Challenging the notion that athletics and academics are at opposite ends of a spectrum, Natasha Thurmon continues to raise the bar for excellence in student athletes. As founder of the Baltimore-based, non-profit organization Mindful Mentors Planting Seeds, Natasha helps Baltimore youth bridge the gap between athletics and academics by offering additional support off the field. She has received many accolades for her leadership in education, including a recent 2013 BET’s Top Educators under 30 award.

(Photo Courtesy of Natasha Thurmon)

(Photo Courtesy of Natasha Thurmon)

Where did you receive your post-secondary education?

“I attended Morgan State University where I earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and then I attended Johns Hopkins University where I earned a Masters in Education.”

How has your education impacted your life mission?

“My education has greatly impacted my life. I know that because once I received my education and pursued those degrees, many doors of opportunity opened up for me. I adamantly believe education is the key to success.”

What made you choose a career in education?

“Education chose me. I thought that becoming a psychologist would be the road I would take. However, I worked in an education program for one summer and the rest is history. It was meant for me to pursue a career in the education field. ”

As an educator, what do you think are the most important issues affecting youth in Baltimore today?

“I think the most important issues affecting our youth today is the lack of support and discipline in all aspects of life. This is one of the reasons why I started my program Mindful Mentors Planting Seeds. The goal of my program is to increase academic achievement in student athletes and each student in my program has a mentor to help them achieve that goal. Not only can they come to me for academic and emotional support, they now have alternatives in life. One person can truly make a difference…it only takes one and I encourage everyone to get involved.”

Keisha Oduor is a professional writer and entrepreneur who resides in Baltimore, Maryland. She has a degree in Communications and French from New York University with work experience in publishing, nonprofits, healthcare administration and program management. Her work can be found on


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