Alumni Mentors Help Students Form Career Goals and Connections

I cannot stress enough the importance of having a mentor.

- Sara DiVello ’99

Professional insight, career exploration, and personal relationships: That’s what Arcadia students earn when they take advantage of the Alumni Career Mentor program and match with employers who understand their career goals.

This year, more than 122 undergraduate and graduate students had connected with 119 alumni mentors. The program—no longer exclusive to the Honors Program—matches mentors and mentees at a kick-off event each fall and will soon begin using online technology.

While many participants requested alumni based on their academic path, the strongest pairings grew from mentors and mentees who shared collegial experiences and personal interests. Jennifer Clark ’16, a computing technology and design student, found her professional match in Sara DiVello ’99, a public relations director turned yoga instructor.

“Both Jen and I are type-A honors students, super hard-working, overachiever types,” said DiVello. “Nancy Woehrle (associate director of Alumni Relations) knew I’d expect the best of Jen, and that Jen could not only live up to, but exceed my high expectations.”

While an alumni mentor is not required to dedicate long hours to the partnership, consistent support— phone calls, emails, a quick run to a coffee shop—goes a long way. By reaching out to a mentee at least three times per semester, mentors provide expertise, diverse perspectives, and constructive critiques to students who are navigating their first job and internship searches.

In return, students must be open to the mentoring process: take responsibility, ask questions, welcome feedback, and apply new outlooks and experiences to their professional lives. While the relationship does not always end with a full-time job offer, commitment is key for students who want to develop skills and habits that will lead to a wider range of employment opportunities.

“I cannot stress enough the importance of having a mentor,” said Clark, who is excited to begin her career as head of Design and Social Media Strategy at Primex Garden Center. “The networking value is immense, and I was fortunate to have secured a job through my Arcadia alumni mentor. I am beyond proud and happy to know that Sara is always looking out for my best interests. I can text or call her whenever I need help. It is a great feeling to know that she has been down this path, and her advice is from her own personal learning."

In addition to student alumni mentorship, the Alumni Association fosters alumni-alumni connections and will pilot an alumni-alumni mentorship program in Washington, D.C., this fall. To get involved as a mentor to students or alumni or to request an alumni mentor, email alumni@arcadia.edu.

16ssmagazine news