The Alumni Student Mentor Program (ASMP) fosters professional growth in the next generation of chemical and biological engineers by facilitating meaningful connections between alumni and students. This program is open to undergraduate and graduate students.
The department also offers a Peer Mentor Program that partners freshmen and senior students to smooth the transition to CU Boulder.
"It was a very neat experience meeting someone who went through a similar process as you with schoolwork at CU and to hear how and what they are doing now. This is inspiring and a rewarding experience." - Student mentee, Spring 2021
Students are matched with alumni-mentors to meet at least once a semester, with additional meetings and communication encouraged but not mandatory. We recommend one meeting per month. Students and mentors are matched according to interest and experience whenever possible.
Students must attend a brief expectations session before being matched. The ASMP coordinator will contact all participating students and mentors throughout the semester to offer guidance and support.
- Watch a brief training video on what to expect from the program before being matched with students.
- Provide students with guidance on education and career progression.
- Take a personal interest in the professional development of their students.
- Meet with their students virtually at least once per semester, but preferably once a month.
- Respond to student communications throughout the semester in a timely fashion.
- Commit to meeting with and having questions prepared for their mentors at least once per semester, but preferably once a month.
- Respond to mentor communications in a timely fashion.
- Behave respectfully and professionally in accordance with the guidelines established in the mandatory expectations session.
The advice mentors give to students will be unique to each pairing, but some suggested topics are:
- Career advice. What fields and opportunities are out there for a ChBE student?
- ChBE career paths. Some students do not know what they want to do with their degrees. Mentors can share their perspective or connect with student with their professional network for additional guidance.
- How can students prepare now for success later?
- Based on their career goals, should students consider additional education or go directly into industry?
- The transition from undergrad. Whether they are going into industry or to graduate, medical or law school, students will benefit from their mentors’ advice on successfully navigating their transition to a new phase of their careers.
- A sense of professionalism and bearing. Mentors can provide students with advice on how they will be expected to behave and act in a professional environment.
- How to network, search for jobs, apply and interview successfully.
- How to choose a graduate school. Discuss how to select the schools that will best fit the students’ goals and interests.
- Ways to bolster a résumé. Apart from a high GPA, what will help students find a job or get into the right graduate school? What steps can they take while they are still undergrads to bolster their experience?
- Mentors pay it forward. Who helped them in the past, and how? What advice have they received that has served them well? Encourage students to consider how they might consider helping the next generation of chemical and biological engineers once they have successful careers of their own.
These questions can help get the conversation going, but students are encouraged to develop and ask their own questions over the course of the mentorship.
- 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?
- What is your perspective on graduate school?
- How can 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 résumé and cover letter to give me pointers?
- What does networking look like for you? Do you have recommendations for how to network?
- 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?
- Can you explain more about jobs in a particular field?
- 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 (that I may not have thought of before)?
- What are your goals, and how do you plan to achieve them?
- How do you balance work and your personal life?
- How is work different from school?
- How do I best present myself in interviews and in the workplace?
- Will my first job out of school pigeonhole me and my career?
- How do I get into consulting? How does independent consulting work?
- Do you have any tips on negotiating a job offer?
Students will have questions for their mentors, but students sometimes need some prompts from you to begin the conversation.
- Tell me about yourself and your background.
- What are your expectations for this mentorship?
- Have you decided whether to pursue further education or to seek employment?
- What classes do you most enjoy or find to be a natural fit?
- What classes or subjects do you find more challenging than others?
- Do you have a plan to help set yourself apart from your peers?
- In which fields are you interested, and why?
- What are your goals from now until graduation?
- What are your goals for a few years after graduation?
- What are your long-term goals?
- What are your concerns for your future?
- Would you like me to look over your résumé and cover letter and provide advice?
- Are you interested in attending graduate, medical or law school?
- What concerns do you have about entering the workforce, if you plan to?
- 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?
- Do you have questions about negotiating a job offer?
- Do you have general questions about financial issues?