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ATIXA Mentor Match Spotlight: Curtis Pahlka

ATIXA’s Mentor Match program bolsters leadership within the Title IX community by pairing experienced professionals with newcomers to the field. This complimentary service is available to all ATIXA members to grow and learn from one another. We’re pleased to present insights from Curtis Pahlka, the Title IX Coordinator at Butte College in Northern California, who has joined the program as a mentee and has invaluable experiences to share.

What inspired you to participate as a mentee in ATIXA’s Mentor Match program?

I am about to finish my third year as a Title IX Coordinator, and I found myself craving more insight into the nuances of the role. Mainly, I wanted to understand what proactive measures I could take when not directly handling a case. Our school doesn’t have any residence halls. So, especially with the 2020 regs, we’ve had very few cases. I needed guidance that moved beyond regulations-focused training to something more practical. That’s when I was matched with my mentor, who happens to be ATIXA’s W. Scott Lewis, in time to help me with an athletics-related case he specializes in.

What is your experience with ATIXA?

I’ve completed five essential Title IX Coordinator courses, all centered around regulations, decision-making, advising, and investigation, plus several specialized ATIXA courses. Our institution typically employs external investigators, but I have conducted internal non-regulatory inquiries.

What advice do you have for mentees?

Come with a plan. Our 30-minute meetings, albeit brief, were impactful without a structured agenda—although ATIXA staff recommended setting one. The informal and authentic discussions were refreshing. However, I’d recommend preparing questions ahead of time for those facing immediate challenges to maximize the benefit of your mentor’s expert advice.

Why would you encourage others to join the Mentor Match program?

I felt quite connected to ATIXA from the outset. For someone juggling multiple resources, the program can offer invaluable one-on-one face time with an industry leader.

What impact do you think this program will have on the growth and advancement of the Title IX field?

This program has bolstered my confidence in my decision-making. It has affirmed my belief that ATIXA is a key resource, which, in turn, helps to propagate best practices in the field.

What experiences or skills are most important for mentors/mentees in this program?

Mentees should come prepared with goals and clear needs—for instance, recognizing their professional areas for improvement or cases needing expert advice. Mentors like Scott deliver precisely what’s required: experienced insights and knowledge conducive to the mentee’s institutional context.

At ATIXA, we know our members make great mentors. We encourage interested individuals to apply as mentors or mentees in the next cycle starting September 2024. To learn more about the Mentor Match program, visit