UST’s Alumni Mentoring Program Offers Students Valuable “Insights” for Career Success
UST Insights, a mentoring program that connects interested students with alumni mentors, during the spring semester, to help them reach their goals and find opportunities to succeed, launched with its kick-off event. UST Insights is a collaboration between Career Services and the Office of Alumni Relations. The program has guided students since 2007.
This year, 107 students applied for the mentoring program along with 58 alumni. The alumni mentors have very diverse backgrounds and experiences. These mentors have worked in various fields of business, oil and gas, technology, medicine and nursing, chemistry, aerospace and research, art and design, education, psychology, law and non-profits.
Senior Director of Alumni Relations, Carla E. Alsandor, Ph.D., commented, “We start recruiting alumni mentors in the fall semester to be paired with student mentees in the spring. The number of students seeking mentors increased significantly this year and we anticipate similar, if not larger, numbers of student applicants in the future. Any alumni professional looking for a way to give back to UST should apply for the Insights mentoring program. It is a rewarding and meaningful experience, and we can really use the help.”
How the Program Works
The mentors and mentees participate in mostly one-on-one activities. Career Services hosts a kick-off event and a closing event over Zoom for the entire group to participate. “Aside from these activities, we encourage mentors and mentees to meet virtually through Zoom, email, by phone, etc. in order to keep everyone safe and healthy at this time,” Megan McKee, career development specialist in Career Services who oversees the program, said. With the great participation by students, some alumni have two student mentees and some are seen in group sessions.
“This program is so valuable to our students because they receive individual coaching from an alumni mentor who has been in their shoes,” McKee said. “We offer guidance in Career Services, but a mentor can give students advice from a very personal perspective because they likely had similar questions at one point.”
Mentors help students:
- choose a major that is right for their career path
- figure out what to do with their degree post-graduation
- create a professional brand image
- who are non-traditional to realign their career path with their future goals
Does Getting a Job Sound Like a Cool Insight?
In today’s job market, having every tool in your tool belt is important once you graduate. “Some mentees find employment through their mentors,” McKee said. “We had a case last year where a mentor helped their mentee prepare for a job interview with another company and the mentee did get the job.”
Other Great Benefits of Having an Alumni Mentor
Many times the alumni mentor and student mentee become life-long friends. “Mentors can develop lasting relationships with their mentees and continue to guide and support them because we pair mentors with students who are traveling a similar path,” McKee said. Mentors can give advice, introduce mentees to new industries, connections, or job opportunities, all of which sets them up to achieve their goals. “I believe that there’s also something in this program
that is very reassuring for students because they can see that their mentor, who worked
in the industry they hope to go into, found success. If their mentor did, then they can
Former Mentees Become Mentors for the Next Generation of Students
The program is so successful former mentees come back after graduating and gaining work experience to help out the next generation of students. “We do have mentors in the program who continuously come back to mentor new students,” McKee said.
Former CSB mentor George Wong, MBA ’89, has returned as a mentor in this year’s UST Insights Program as a mentor. Wong is mentoring Tom Hultsch. Wong also mentored Lan Nguyen ’20 several years ago. She now serves as an alumni mentor too.
Wong had this to say about his involvement with the program. “The mentoring program has been a very rewarding experience. I have been with the program at UST for the past nine years. It’s great to help students who are eager to learn and created an impact on their growth. The enthusiasm from the students and their success motivated me to continue year after year. It is great to see one of my mentees, Lan Nguyen, who decided to come back as a mentor this year. This year, I am mentoring another student, Tom Hultsch, who will be graduating in May. I hope he will benefit from this program,” he said.