The Engineering Alumni Mentoring Program aims to match each engineering student with a mentor who can provide career and educational advice, as well as share experiences. The goal of the program is create mutual benefits for the students and mentors including:
Participating alumni will gain:
- Access to potential employees or interns
- Additional networking opportunities with other alumni
- Satisfaction of helping the next generation gain career insights
Participating students will gain:
- An introduction to the vibrant engineering alumni network
- Career mentoring from professionals
- Experience networking with professionals
- Advice for navigating the TCNJ curriculum
- Access to potential employers
The mentoring program works by creating specific events and specifying a few friendly interactions between alumni and students. Beyond these interactions, students and alumni can interact as mutually agreeable. The program has a series of events and deliverables each year.
In order to foster initial communication between mentors and students, two simple deliverables will be required of each student. First, the students are required to interview their mentor about their career path and create a 1-2 page summary. Please note that the mentor’s career path need not be long, students can learn from new graduates as well as more experienced individuals. Secondly, the students are required to have the mentor review their resume and provide feedback (juniors are targeting internships and seniors are targeting full-time employment). With a maximum of three students per mentor, this should not be a large time commitment for the mentor, but will provide valuable advice to the student.
With any mentoring relationship, it is impossible to predict exactly how much interaction will be sought. The program has been designed to give meaningful interaction without undue burden for either mentor or student. However, additional interaction is possible if the mentor and student are both amenable. Mentors provide a preferred contact method for all interactions.
Alumni will be solicited for participation in the program each summer. The goal is to have up to three students assigned to each mentor based on the following criteria:
- Professional Interest (e.g. Graduate School, Industry, Medical School, Law School, etc.)
- Company/ sector
The program is embedded as a requirement in the course ENG 093, Engineering Seminar III. Most of the students in this course are juniors, although there may be some seniors or advanced sophomores. Beginning the mentoring experience in the junior year is ideal because this is a year in which many career decisions become more in focus for the student. Moreover, the students have gained enough background to seek specific answers to questions about their chosen field. After the requirements of the course have been satisfied, the mentoring relationship is free to continue if amenable to both the mentor and student – students are encouraged to update their mentors on their progress toward graduation and beyond.
A note to our education graduates: our education majors currently receive specialized mentoring as part of the professional development sequence within the curriculum. Thus, with this strong mentoring experience in place, we decided to pilot this program with the engineering majors only at this time.