Northwestern Alumni Network expands mentorship program

Daria Lenderman, Reporter

The Northwestern Alumni Association has expanded its online mentorship program to connect current undergraduates and recent graduates to alumni.

The Northwestern Network Mentorship Program program, previously limited to alumni, will now be available for undergraduates in the areas of health care, finance and communications in its pilot phase, with the potential to expand to more fields in the future.

The program was created to provide advice, perspective and guidance to mentees while also keeping alumni involved and informed on student and campus life, said director of alumni engagement Annie White.

Mentees can connect with alumni mentors by making an online profile displaying their personal career and academic interests. After creating a profile, mentees can reach out to alumni with similar interests and career goals. This allows mentees to tailor the program to their personal needs, said Ben Hancock, associate director of alumni professional development.

Because the program is online-based, students can connect with alumni in their desired fields around the world.

“It really does provide that opportunity to allow them to connect beyond just the Chicagoland area,” Hancock said.

As the program continues to develop, Amanda Look, the associate director of alumni professional development, said the Northwestern Alumni Association plans to extend mentorship to students and alumni in all career and subject fields. Look said she anticipates the pilot phase of the program will last about a year, after which the program will extend to other careers.

Unlike similar networking opportunities, the mentorship program seeks to build personal, customized and long-term relationships between mentor and mentee, Hancock said.

White added that she hopes it will help students gain valuable career experience and new perspectives on various paths. The program offers students the opportunity to ask questions that they may not feel comfortable asking in the classroom or at an intership, White said.

Although the program is designed to provide career guidance to students as they prepare to enter the workforce, White said the benefits of this program extend to the mentors as well.

“You learn so much more about yourself and your career,” White said. “You get to take a little bit of a step back and really think about where you’ve been and where you’ve gone and the lessons that you have learned.”

As the mentorship program continues to expand to reach a broader range of careers, Hancock said the program will maintain its goal to develop collaborative relationships worldwide between mentor and student mentee among the NU alumni network.  

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