Mentoring Program Offers Two-Fold Service Opportunity
December 1, 2017
Giving is circular. The more you give, the more you receive, as those who routinely help out will attest.
That circularity guides a new USF Mentoring Program offered by the Office of Alumni Relations and Career Outreach Center. Alumni can become mentors to USF students and also receive mentoring for themselves, if they choose.
Connecting with students and fellow alumni through an online platform, USF grads can create profiles, receive mentoring matches, schedule meeting times and sign up for training workshops. The free and completely online program allows alumni from around the world to participate.
Mentor Nicole Satalino, business administration 2016, highly recommends the program after her successful match with USF freshman Sarah Lewis. A business development coordinator for Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, Satalino helps to grow the regional economy through lead generation and research to attract businesses to northeast Indiana.
It’s easy to sign up for the USF Mentoring Program, she said. “You go online and fill out a profile, and through that you create a bio of your workplace, when you graduated and your interests and passions. At the end, you can select whether you want to be a mentor, mentee or both. I selected both. The pairing is based on interest and availability.”
Since her positive experience as an engaged USF student has impacted her professional life, she wants to guide Sarah into an active student life. “During my USF time, I was involved in campus organizations, and I think it makes for well-rounded alumni. For me, it translated from campus to being involved in my community, and I think that’s really important. Being engaged on campus makes you then engage with your workplace and community. Working in teams gives you a better perspective.”
That insight informs her interaction with Sarah. “I go into meetings and try to keep topics centered on how to make her time at USF easier, how to navigate courses and activities the easiest way and get the most out of her experience,” she said. “We talk about career opportunities like job shadowing to help her really figure out her direction.”
Sharing her experience feels good. “What’s rewarding is being able to give back in a unique way. I had an incredible experience, and I got the maximum quality from my education because of involvement and community outreach. I wanted to pay that back and help a student have a similar experience.”
As a result, Sarah has grown from a freshman with undecided major to a student with evolving goals. “Within three to four months of the relationship, she has her major narrowed down to business. Seeing her grow, identify her passion, narrow things down and make her decisions is powerful,” Satalino said.
While she waits for her own mentor match, she has solid ideas about what she needs from the relationship. “For me, a mentor should be someone who can help with professional development,” she said. “You have all these opportunities throughout college, but what does that look like after graduation—how do I apply that and navigate through my career? He or she should provide valuable feedback and knowledge to help me grow professionally.”
For Sarah, the mentoring relationship has provided direction, energy and self-confidence in her journey toward selfhood.
“This program has been a huge benefit, helping me to discover my major and giving me connections in the community,” she said. “Working with Nicole has shown me that I want to go into business, but I am still job shadowing to narrow down exactly what I want to do.
“She has played a key role in this, arranging multiple job shadows and meetings with faculty members at USF, and encouraging and guiding me as I chose to join the student newspaper. I can honestly say my confidence has skyrocketed through my meetings with Nicole. She has been a role model for me as I journey toward the real world, and shown me what happens when hard work and perseverance pay off.”
It’s almost a match made in heaven. “I can truly say that it was God working in my life to match Nicole and me in this program. She has played and will continue to play an instrumental role in my development as a young adult, leader and student. I am so excited to continue learning from Nicole as she works toward her goals and encourages me to do the same,” Sarah said.
See the link to the program landing page at alumni.sf.edu