Mentor Program launches to connect Aztecs and alumni

Photo by Tobin Vaughn, staff photographer.

Photo by Tobin Vaughn, staff photographer.

by Adriana Millar

On Oct. 11, a kickoff event for the new Aztec Mentor Program was held to introduce students to their respective alumni mentors.

The Aztec Mentors Program is a partnership between San Diego State Career Services and the Alumni Association. The program matches current upperclassmen to alumni mentors through the online service Aztec Career Connection.

The event was held at the Parma Payne Goodall Alumni Center. Assistant Vice President of Alumni Engagement Jim Herrick spoke about wanting to engage students with alumni since the center was constructed four years ago.

“But today we really nailed it,” Herrick said. “This is it, you’re it today.”

At the event, Acting Vice President of Student Affairs Eric Rivera spoke about the importance of linking classroom and real-world experiences together.

“If you learn to articulate those experiences, SDSU grads will be more competitive than any other graduates,” he said.

U-T San Diego’s Senior Marketing Manager Britt Nevetsky and Research Analyst Meigan Mell, a 2011 alumna, were keynote speakers at the event. Mell was mentored by Nevetsky as a part of the previous mentor program run by SDSU Career Services, which ultimately led to a job offer for Mell.

Before partnering with the Alumni Association, Career Services ran a mentor program focused toward business students. Through the new program, students can be connected to alumni from all fields of study.

“We wanted to give students more options,” AMP Coordinator and Career Counselor Bobbie Gray said. “Having a relationship with the Alumni Association is one of the best things you can do in the career center.”

Previously, career counselors would match up students to mentors.

“We always had alumni and professionals involved in it,” Gray said. “This time we let students decide for themselves.”

Senior Alexandra Carreto is one of the first students to go through the online selection process. After seeing a flier at Career Services, Carreto went online to begin researching possible mentors through Aztec Career Connection.

“I knew it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up,” Carreto said. “Job experience and networking are the most important things you need to know.”

Alumni have also expressed eagerness about the program.

“I want to learn what they’re looking for, from career guidance to direction in studies,” class of ‘95 alumnus and program mentor James O’Grady.

Others mentors involved in the program are looking to give back to the university.

“I still haven’t come back since I graduated,” class of ‘11 alumna and program mentor Candice Nguyen. “I wish there was something like this when I went here.”

There are alumni from out of state and even out of the country who wish to be involved in the program, Gray said. However at the event, there were several alumni who had not been matched to students yet. She said everyone will have a mentor by next Wednesday.

The program is currently funded by the Aztec Parents Association. If the program is successful, Gray hopes to expand the AMP to graduate students as well.

“I think this is the greatest program, “ Gray said. “Students come back from the experience much more knowledgeable.”

Photo by Tobin Vaughn, staff photographer.