Gustavus Mentoring Program connects former and current Gusties

Grace LaTourelle-

With all of the intricacies of being a college student soon to enter the workforce, the Gustavus Mentoring Program aims to connect current students with Gustie alumni. Through the platform Gusties Connect, as part of PeopleGrove, students will be matched with a mentor to connect and network with.

“The Gustavus Mentoring Program is a program that runs throughout the school year. The program has two parts. It has the formal, where we match you with that Gustavus alum for the full year. But it also has that informal side of it too…where you can connect one-on-one with an alum for those one-off questions,” Career Development Specialist Julie Rudolf said.

The Mentoring Program is having its Kickoff Banquet on Nov. 15 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in Alumni Hall. The banquet will have a relaxed formal dress code and will include guest speakers, games, and a buffet. This, as well as all Mentoring Program events, is open to all Gustavus students. Even those not within the formal mentorship program are open to come; thus, the program faculty and student leadership encourage all Gusties to attend.

“That event is open to anyone. So even if you’re not in the actual mentoring program yet, students still can come,” Rudolf emphasized. “… it’s a way for you to realize the benefit of that mentoring program and that these mentors are really there to help.”

Along with the Kickoff Banquet, the Mentoring Program boasts a variety of events that students and their mentors can attend. These include workshops on résumé building, finding internships, a Pickleball tournament with alums, and attending a Twins Game as the closing for the year. There will also be a DEIB panel in the spring that brings in leaders to talk about their experiences with mentoring and even being mentored. All events with the program are also free of charge.

“All the different events that we have are open to all students. Again, we want to make sure it’s as inclusive as possible,” Rudolf affirmed.

Despite all students being free to attend events sans involvement in the mentoring program, they are still encouraged to register and if willing, as early as possible. Rudolf articulated that the full effects and benefits of the program are absorbed when paired with a mentor for the entire year.

“Many of the mentors have not been paired yet and some are even willing to take on more than one mentee. Sign up!” Vice President of Event Planning and Junior Lillian Selberg said.

The mentorship program, as illustrated by the Student Leadership Team and Rudolf, has numerous benefits and fruitful applications. This includes the networking aspect of not only having an alum connection but also their broader web. Mentors are instructed to be supporters and can act as sounding boards or pathways to other connections, internships, or even jobs.

“The Gustavus Mentoring Program is a year-long commitment between alumni and current students, with a focus on building connections, expanding career horizons, and setting students up for success,” President and current Senior Lizzie Horton described.

Furthermore, the Mentoring Program and subsequent mentors help students with the process toward professional careers. This encompasses résumé building, cover letters, preparation for interviews, and guidance with applications.

The value of having a mentor and being part of the program is “…really taking that integration from what you’re learning in the classroom and putting it into that professional setting,” Rudolf said.

While some students might prefer to focus on personal development, leaders within the mentorship program highlight the importance of connection.

“A huge piece of advice that I’ve been given is that your career isn’t necessarily all about what you can do and what qualities you have, but more about who you know and how far you can stretch your network, the Gustavus Mentoring Program helps you do exactly that!” Horton said.

Gusties Connect, the PeopleGrove application, functions as a pathway for being paired with mentors as well as having access to all Gustavus mentors in the program for specific questions. While students can directly communicate with any mentor on the site, mentors and mentees will formally be paired when students enter the program. Communication between mentors and mentees is encouraged monthly, but how much and when is ultimately left up to the pair’s discretion.

“Personally, I have had the best 3 years in this program. I began my sophomore year as a way to help me find the career path I was hoping for, and ended up making the most amazing connection with my mentor… My junior year went the same; I had an amazing mentor who introduced me to incredible people and helped give me the career confidence I was seeking. She guided me through applying for my Summer 2023 internship that had landed me a full-time position after graduation,” Horton said.

Gusties can register for the mentorship program on the Gustavus website, upon which there are also several links to resources, such as the event schedule.

“We want to make sure students see how easy it is, how fun it can be, and that’s really what’s going to keep students in it and get more students to want to be part of it,” Rudolf summarized. “Just enjoy it. Be part of the things you have the opportunity to be a part of here at Gustavus. There’s so many resources…you’re going to enjoy your experience here if you’re involved.”

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