Alumni Mentorship Program Helps 2020 Graduates ‘Take Flight’
The program for all 2020 graduates across the University included webinars on networking, lessons learned from the 2008 financial crash, and the benefits of mentorship. After the webinars, over 70 graduates signed up to be matched with a mentor in their field of interest.
The Center for Career and Professional Development and the Office of Alumni Relations have joined forces to grow new, mutually beneficial relationships to support the graduating class of 2020 through one-on-one pairings with Alumni and Trustee mentors.
The new program, “Take Flight,” was available to all 2020 graduates across the University, including undergraduate, graduate, law, and University College. Interested graduates participated in three webinars covering topics including networking, lessons learned from the 2008 financial crash, and the benefits of mentorship. After the conclusion of the webinar series, over 70 graduates signed up to be matched with a mentor in their field of interest.
“We sign up because we want to help,” said Vivienne Clayton ’12, Staff Engineer at Striker Joint Replacement, who participated as a mentor. “My advice to mentees? Don’t be afraid to email, and don’t be afraid to take up your mentor’s time. Seeing that I could help emerging engineers or computer scientists from my alma mater felt really good to me.”
Mentors and mentees were given guidance on making the most of the relationship. Mentees had the opportunity to connect directly with their mentors, asking questions and seeking advice. Mentors provided access to professional networks and guidance on professional goals.
“Mentorship opened a door to having conversations in a way you don’t usually have,” said Traci Picard ’20, who graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Community Development from UC. “I now have someone whom I can ask questions and talk to for the long run. Hopefully this will keep going and not just be a few conversations, but will unfold over time.”
Though the mentorship program was developed specifically to help this year’s graduating class face a uniquely challenging job market, Amy Berkeley, Vice President of Institutional Advancement, plans to continue the program for years to come. She intends to grow the network of participating alumni to allow each mentee to connect with multiple mentors.
“Being at Roger Williams is an ecosystem – a symbiotic relationship that will always be with you. This year was a particular situation in time when mentorship was most important, but when you find communities that are willing to lift each other up, that’s something to grow. You don’t stop. You just keep going,” she said.