Alumni Student Mentoring Program

The ChBE undergraduate studentsdepartment has created a broad strategic vision to form a ChBE community that links alumni, current students, faculty, and staff.  This vision was developed in collaboration with our alumni-comprised External Advisory Board.

Implementing this vision entails various strategic components from an increased social media presence to improved events and participation opportunities. The EAB and faculty agree that one undertaking which could have a significant positive impact is an Alumni Student Mentoring Program (ASMP). Through this program, we hope to further connections between generations of alumni and strengthen our CU ChBE community.

For this ASMP, we are looking for alumni who would be willing to spend a small amount of time to make a big difference in the lives of students.  Think back onto your time as an undergraduate student and consider how a professional mentor could have provided additional insights and support beyond those of your faculty and fellow students. 

The program is a great way for you to get involved in the ChBE community, to help our current students in a valuable and concrete way, and to help us establish a culture of service that will be paid forward for generations to come.  We hope you will considering participating.

Please contact the ASMP Coordinator, Wendy Young, if interested.

Thank you for your interest in mentoring students in Chemical and Biological Engineering (ChBE)!

The following general guidelines are provided as guidance to mentors on the expected level of commitment.  However, we encourage mentors to be flexible, and to share with each other and with us their ideas for improving or getting the most out of the program.
 

What are the goals of the Alumni Student Mentoring Program (ASMP)?

  • Impart on students a sense of professionalism and maturity.
  • Link alumni and current students.
  • Establish a ChBE culture of service.
  • Provide a means for alumni to make a significant impact on students.

 

What kind of advice should mentors impart?

  • The advice mentors give to students will vary greatly, but below are some general topics mentors may wish to address.
    • A Sense of Professionalism. Advice on how students will be expected to carry themselves and act in the professional world.
    • Career Advice. What fields and opportunities are out there, and how can students prepare now to position themselves to take full advantage? Based on their career goals, should students consider post-graduate school or go directly into industry?
    • Ways to Bolster a Resume. Apart from a high GPA, what will help students find a job or get into a good graduate school? This may be certain industrial experience, research, leadership roles, volunteer work or other extracurricular activities.
    • The Transition from School to the Next Step. Whether they are going into industry or graduate/medical/law school, you can provide valuable advice on how to make the transition go as smoothly as possible.
    • How to Find a Job. How to network and best present oneself, job search tools that may be useful, etc.
    • How to Choose a Graduate/Medical/Law School. What is most important to consider when applying for and visiting schools? For instance, advisor connection, ranking if going into academia, multiple research projects of interest, etc.
    • The Importance of Service. Why do you feel giving back or volunteering is important?
    • Helpful Advice You Have Received. Did certain advice help shape your career or life?

 

What support exists for mentors?

  • You have the option to join a Mentor Team consisting of 5-10 mentors. These teams will be assigned based on location; team members will be put into contact by the ASMP Coordinator. Mentor Team members can talk about their mentoring experiences or beyond. 
  • Mentors will only be placed onto a team if they indicate their interest to the ASMP Coordinator.
  • Mentors are always more than welcome to contact the ASMP Coordinator at any time with questions, concerns, or advice on how to improve the program.

 

How are mentors and students matched?

  • Mentors will be asked to provide brief biographical sketch information or a LinkedIn profile for pairing purposes.
  • Students will fill out a survey expressing their interests.
  • The ASMP Coordinator will match mentors with student mentees based on shared interests and send an introductory email to everyone. The ASMP Coordinator will then step back and let the mentor initiate the next contact.

 

How many students are assigned to a mentor?

  • Mentors will have a small number of student mentees, to be determined based on the number of volunteers. 
  • The mentor can also request a certain number of students if desired.

 

What is expected of the mentor?

  • Mentors will schedule and hold “face-to-face” meetings with students in person or through Skype at leastonce per academic semester.  These meetings can be conducted with small groups of students or each student individually. The focus is on establishing face time between mentors and students.
  • Mentors will field a reasonable number of emails, phone calls, etc. from students.  We expect students will occasionally contact mentors with questions in between face-to-face meetings, most commonly by email.  We hope that mentors will respond to these questions when possible, understanding that the number of such contacts should be reasonable. 
  • The ASMP Coordinator will establish reasonable boundaries with students.

 

What is the estimated monthly time commitment?

  • The estimated monthly time commitment per student mentee is 1-2 hours.

 

How long is the commitment?

  • Mentor-mentee pairing will be maintained through graduation.  Mentors will only be changed based on the request of a mentor or mentee.  We strongly encourage mentors to continue contact with mentees after completion of their degrees.

 

Will there be opportunities for feedback?

  • The ASMP Coordinator will be contacting all mentors during their first mentoring semester to check in and solicit feedback.
  • A survey will be administered to all mentors and students once a year to determine ways in which to improve the program.

 

What are some questions that can get conversations started with mentees?

  • Tell me about yourself and your background.
  • What would you like to know about me?
  • What are your questions for me?
  • What do you want to take away from this mentoring program?
  • What classes do you most enjoy?
  • In what activities are you involved?
  • What are you doing to set yourself apart from your peers?
  • In which fields are you interested and why? In which fields are you absolutely not interested and why?
  • What are your short-term (post-graduation) goals?
  • What are your long-term (10-20 years) goals?
  • What do you think you need to do now to achieve your goals?
  • What are your concerns for your future?
  • Would you like me to look over your resume and cover letter and provide advice?
  • How do you think a school and professional setting are different?
  • Do you have questions about choosing a graduate, medical or law school?
  • Are you concerned that your first job outside of school will pigeon-hole you?
  • Do you have questions about the advantages and disadvantages of working at a small versus big company?
  • Do you think you would be interested in management? How do you think you could position yourself to move into a management role?
  • Do you have questions about negotiating?
  • Do you have general questions about financial issues? For instance, how do various retirement plans work, what is a stock purchase plan, what are some resources for money management and stock investment, or what is involved in buying a house?

 

If you have any questions whatsoever during any point in the process, please do not hesitate to contact the ASMP Coordinator. Thanks for your participation!

The Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering (ChBE) has established the Alumni Student Mentoring Program (ASMP) to help provide guidance and support during your undergraduate years and beyond.

What are the goals of the Alumni Student Mentoring Program (ASMP)?

  • Impart on students a sense of professionalism and maturity.
  • Link alumni and current students.
  • Establish a ChBE culture of service.
  • Provide a means for alumni to make a significant impact on students.
     

Why participate in ASMP?

  • Gain valuable career advice.
  • Broaden your professional network.
  • Learn more about your field(s) of interest and the types of jobs/companies in these areas.
  • Learn how someone previously in your shoes has transitioned into the professional world, works on achieving professional goals, and deals with work-life balance.
  • Foster a sense of professionalism.
  • Gain additional insights and support beyond those of your faculty and fellow students.
     

What is expected of students?

  • Attend one expectations session prior to meeting your mentor, where the ASMP Coordinator will go over a student/program expectations presentation. Email the ASMP Coordinator if no sessions are currently scheduled.
  • Meet in person or Skype with your mentor at least once a semester. The focus is on establishing face time between mentors and students.
  • Maintain your relationship through a reasonable number of emails or phone calls. Please realize that your mentor most likely has a full-time job so be considerate of his or her time. Communication is important; you may considering saying something like, “I may have a lot of questions for you, especially when I’m looking for a job or considering classes. Please just let me know if I am taking up too much of your time.”
  • Answer mentor emails or phone calls in a timely manner(1-2 days), even if it is only to say you are quite busy at the present moment and will get back to your mentor at length within a week or two.
  • Behave professionally and respectfully. For instance, turn your cell phone off during in-person meetings; attend in-person meetings in business casual attire unless requested otherwise by your mentor; address your mentor formally in emails unless requested otherwise by your mentor.
     

What kind of advice can mentors impart to students?

The advice mentors impart on students will vary greatly, but below are some general topics mentors should address.

  • Career Advice. What fields and opportunities are out there, and how can students prepare now to position themselves to take full advantage? Based on their career goals, should students consider post-graduate school or go directly into industry?
  • The Transition from School to the Next Step. Whether they are going into industry or graduate/medical/law school, mentors can provide valuable advice on how to make the transition go as smoothly as possible.
  • A Sense of Professionalism. Advice on how students will be expected to carry themselves and act in the professional world.
  • How to Find a Job. How to network and best present oneself, job search tools that may be useful, etc.
  • How to Choose a Graduate/Medical/Law School. What is most important to consider when applying for and visiting schools? For instance, advisor connection, ranking if going into academia, multiple research projects of interest, etc.
  • Ways to Bolster a Resume. Apart from a high GPA, what will help students find a job or get into a good graduate school? This may be certain industrial experience, research, leadership roles, volunteer work or other extracurricular activities.
  • The Importance of Service. Why is giving back or volunteering is important?
  • Helpful Advice Mentors Have Received. Advice which helped share the mentor’s career or life.
     

How are mentors and students matched?

  • Students will fill out and email to the ASMP Coordinator a survey expressing their interests.
  • Mentors will be asked to provide brief biographical sketch information or a LinkedIn profile for pairing purposes.
  • The ASMP Coordinator will match mentors with student mentees based on shared interests and send an introductory email to everyone. The ASMP Coordinator will then step back and let the mentor initiate the next contact.
     

How long is the commitment?

  • Mentor-mentee pairing will be maintained through graduation.  Mentors will only be changed based on the request of a mentor or mentee.  We strongly encourage mentors to continue contact with mentees after completion of their degrees. 
     

Will there be opportunities for feedback?

  • The ASMP Coordinator will be contacting all students during their first mentoring semester to check in and solicit feedback.
  • A survey will be administered to all mentors and students once a year to determine ways in which to improve the program.
     

How many students are assigned to a mentor?

  • Mentors will have a small number of student mentees, to be determined based on the number of volunteers.
     

What are some sample questions?

  • Can you tell me about yourself and your current job?
  • How did you get where you are now?
  • What would you like to know about me?
  • What classes do you think might help me after school?
  • Do you recommend graduate school or getting an MBA?
  • How do I put myself in a position to succeed in industry?
  • What are the positives and negatives of a large company versus a small company?
  • Would you be willing to look at my resume and cover letter and give me pointers?
  • Do you have recommendations for how to network?
  • In what activities did you participate outside of school?
  • How did you manage the transition out of CU?
  • What can I do to set myself apart from my peers?
  • What do I need to do now to make myself the most marketable?
  • Do you have any test-taking or studying strategies?
  • Can you explain more about jobs in a particular field? What exactly do people spend their time doing at work?
  • I’m interested in (certain classes or activities). Can you suggest any companies or graduate schools where I would do this kind of work?
  • Is there a certain field you might recommend (which I may not have thought of before)?
  • What were your goals, and how did you achieve them?
  • How do you balance work and your personal life?
  • How is work different from school?
  • How should I conduct myself at work, especially if it is more formal?
  • How do I give the best present myself in interviews and in the workplace?
  • Will my first job out of school pigeon-hole me and my career?
  • How do I get on the management track?
  • How do I get into consulting? How does independent consulting work?
  • Do you have any tips on negotiating?
  • Do you have advice on financial issues? For instance, various retirement plans, stock purchase plans, resources for money management and stock investment, or in buying a house?
     

If you have any questions whatsoever during any point in the process, please do not hesitate to contact the ASMP Coordinator.