Deb & Brianna

Founded in 1991 by Dr. Tom and Nancy Osborne, the TeamMates Mentoring Program is proud to celebrate 30 years of inspiring youth to reach their full potential through mentoring. One TeamMates mentee exceeds expectations as she enlists in the Marines and becomes the first female football student-manager for the Citadel Bulldogs.

“I’m excited to break down those barriers,” said 17-year-old Brianna Arguello. “I want to be able to represent myself and other females to say ‘Hey we can do this, just give us a shot.’”

Brianna joined the TeamMates Mentoring Program as a fifth-grader in Broken Bow, NE looking to try something fun. That’s when she met her mentor, Deb McCaslin. They met in school once a week to play soccer and talk.

Deb and Brianna remained matched in the TeamMates Mentoring Program until Brianna graduated from high school. As Brianna started looking toward her future, she said she wanted to contribute to her country. That’s why she chose to enlist in the Marines and study psychology at the Citadel in South Carolina.

“In the Marines, they push you,” Brianna explained. “At the Citadel, you earn your spot, and I love it. Not only will I be able to serve my country, but I’ll also be able to be a leader of some great men and women.”


The only issue ahead for Brianna was funding. After her visit to South Carolina, she was heartbroken, thinking she wouldn’t be able to attend such a prestigious school. That’s when Deb came in with hope. Deb researched scholarship opportunities and came across several from the TeamMates Mentoring Program. In 2021, TeamMates and its partners awarded more than $3 million to TeamMates mentees to further their education. With the support of the Educational Success Emergency Fund and the Mentors Foundation, TeamMates was able to provide Brianna with enough money to achieve her full potential at the Citadel.

“We are extremely grateful for our partnership with Mentors Foundation in so many different ways to impact our mentees,” said TeamMates+ coordinator Jaci McKeever. “This story is a great example of dedicated professionals working together to provide opportunities to students that commit to investing in themselves with mentoring and quality education.”

The story doesn’t end here for Brianna and Deb. As part of her scholarship, the match will continue through the TeamMates+ post-secondary program by meeting once a month virtually or in person. In TeamMates+, 82% of students move onto their second year of college compared to the national average of 74%. Deb will be able to provide moral support and friendship to Brianna as she pursues her degree and inspires women at the Citadel.

We checked in with Brianna after her first year at the Citadel. Hear how she’s paying her experience in TeamMates forward!

“I want to be there in 4 years when you throw your hat at the Citadel,” Deb said to Brianna. “I am so proud of you.”