The Alumni-Student Mentor Program (ASMP) fosters professional growth in the next generation of chemical and biological engineers by building meaningful connections between alumni and students. This program is open to undergraduate and graduate students alike.
The department also offers a Peer Mentor Program that partners freshmen and senior students to smooth the transition to CU Boulder.
Sign up for the Fall 2019 semester now:
The time commitment of contact per student is approximately one to two hours a month. The focus of this program is on establishing face-to-face contact to make the mentorship more personal. Mentors will work with one or several students each semester, based on volunteer numbers and student interest, or on the mentor’s preference. Mentors will be contacted each semester to confirm their participation going forward, but may withdraw between semesters by contacting the program coordinator.
The ASMP coordinator will match mentors and mentees based on shared interests on or around the first day of each month and will send an introductory email to both. The coordinator will then step back and let the mentor initiate the next contact.
Mentees must attend one expectations session before beginning their mentorship. The ASMP coordinator will contact all participating students each semester to check in and solicit feedback.
- Provide students with guidance on education and career progression.
- Take a personal interest in the professional development of their students.
- Meet with their students either in-person or over a video call at least once per semester. Mentors with multiple students may meet in small groups.
- Establish contact guidelines with their students, including appropriateness of frequency and type/method preference (email, phone, LinkedIn message, etc.).
- Respond to student queries outside of face-to-face meeting sessions in accordance with agreed-upon contact guidelines.
- Commit to meeting with and having questions prepared for their mentors at least once per semester.
- Contact their mentors with questions outside of established contact times in accordance with the agreed-upon contact guidelines, but will be advised to respect their mentors’ time.
- Answer mentor emails or phone calls in a timely manner.
- Behave respectfully and professionally to include dressing appropriately for meetings, being punctual, addressing their mentors formally, and silencing their cell phones during contact sessions.
- Fill out the semester check-in form to report and provide feedback to the ASMP coordinator.
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? 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 find a job. How to network, search for jobs, apply, and interview successfully.
- How to choose a graduate/medical/law 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.
Mentors have years of experience and education that they are looking forward to sharing. 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?
- 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 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 should I conduct myself at work?
- 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?
- Do you have advice on financial issues? For instance, student debt repayment, various retirement plans, stock purchase plans, resources for money management and stock investment, or in buying a house?
Students will have questions for their mentors, but showing interest in the students may often make them feel more comfortable.
- 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?
- In what activities in or out of school are you involved?
- Do you have a plan to help set yourself apart from your peers?
- In which fields are you interested and why?
- In which fields are you not 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 (10-20 years) goals?
- Do you have a plan to start achieving those goals?
- What are your concerns for your future?
- Would you like me to look over your résumé and cover letter and provide advice?
- How do you think school and a professional setting might be different?
- 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? How do you think you could position yourself to move into a management role?
- Do you have questions about negotiating a job offer?
- Do you have general questions about financial issues?