Published: May 21, 2014
Sam Torrance and Brian Kihn

Six months after it was first implemented, ChBE’s mentoring program is proving to be beneficial to student and alumni participants alike. 

“This program provides an ideal outlet to give back to the younger generation of engineers and makes you feel great sharing and helping others,” says Jay Witherspoon (ChemEngr’81).

The ChBE Alumni Student Mentoring Program (ASMP) was first proposed by the department’s External Advisory Board in 2013. Since it was rolled out to sophomores and juniors in the spring of 2014, 65 students have been matched with alumni mentors.

Through the ASMP, alumni are able to impart advice and information on career options and professional etiquette that students do not normally get in the classroom.

"The program has allowed me to gain valuable insight into starting an international engineering career from an experienced professional," says senior Brita Salzmann.  

Both alumni and students were polled about their experiences this May; the results were extremely positive and helpful suggestions will be implemented this fall.

“This program offers students insight into what is in the world just beyond homework assignments and midterms, while allowing alumni to reconnect with the department in a very positive way,” Andrew Jensen (ChemEngr’10) commented in the survey.

Theresa Scholz (ChemEng’80) also wrote, “It was interesting to hear about the pressures and expectations students experience today. Some are the same as when I went to school, and some are very different."

Additionally, the first annual ChBE Distinguished Mentor Award was presented this April to Amgen Senior Project Manager Brian Kihn (ChemEngr’92), shown with his mentee junior Sam Torrance. Kihn not only gave great advice to Torrance through their meetings and emails, but he also organized a tour of Amgen’s Boulder facility for 20 ChBE students.

 “Brian has helped me better my resume and really tailor it towards what employers are looking for, as well as helped me to get in contact with some folks in the industry,” says Torrance. “Since meeting him, I have learned a lot more about what kind of job I should expect as well as how I should carry/present myself in order to appeal to those in hiring positions.”

More mentors are needed for the Fall 2014 semester when the program is offered to the new class of sophomores. If you are an alumnus/a and interested in mentoring a ChBE student, please email ASMP Coordinator Wendy Young or visit the ASMP website.