Career Success is excited to announce our Match Mentor Program has been recognized as one of three “Alumni Program of the Year” award winners at the 2020 Ohio State University Alumni Association (OSUAA) Club and Society Leadership Symposium.
Given to promote positive engagement between students, alumni and friends of Ohio State, these awards recognize innovative programming that models the “Pay It Forward” concept.
The Match Mentor Program has been developed over the past four years, starting with a small group of trial mentor pairings and then serving 50, 100 and currently 150 students with plans to continue expanding. Mentors and mentees are paired for the academic year based on professional goals and outcomes or by major. A step-by-step handbook helps each pairing set expectations, allowing each mentoring experience to have the best possible outcomes by being customized to the participant’s goals.
“Building relationships based on trust is what makes this program outstanding,” said Susan Munthe, an Arts and Sciences Alumni Society Board member who has been instrumental in the development of the Match Mentor Program. “Taking pride in the process and creating Buckeyes for Life who will in turn help others who come behind them is how this program will grow and thrive well into the future.”
While the focus of a mentoring program is often on the benefit to the student, the alumni who volunteer also experience very real professional growth.
“Both alumni and students can benefit from the mentoring relationship: Students gain the perspective of an objective professional while the alumni build mentoring skills that can then translate back to their own employment,” said Julie Capozzi, Alumni Society Board member and a driving force behind the Match Mentor Program.
“The mentor can rely on other Buckeye mentors to talk to the mentee about areas where they are unfamiliar or uncomfortable,” said Dennis Baer, another key alumnus involved in the creation of the program. “That is a huge advantage of having over 200,000 Arts and Sciences alumni.”
As our world continues to move forward during a global pandemic and while social and political change occurs, mentorship has evolved to address concerns beyond strictly professional development.
“Especially in these times of COVID-19, where there is lots of uncertainty, the mentor can reassure the mentee that these tough times will not last forever,” Baer said.
”Mentorship during the pandemic and the associated challenges of virtual learning and job searches are providing mentors and mentees an opportunity to work outside their comfort zones,” said Christy Haiduck, Alumni Society Board Awards Chair. “The students gain insight into the give and take of the modern workplace and how it is different from the world of academia. The opportunity to give back and learn more about the current generation helps our mentors to better understand the unique characteristics of the modern student and their needs. Establishing a place where alumni and students can support each other through work, school and even social needs is a hallmark of the program.”
The Alumni Program of the Year award from OSUAA confirms what so many arts and sciences students and alumni already knew about this program.
Capozzi says what makes the Match Mentor Program so outstanding is “the passionate alumni who wish to come back to campus for the opportunity to ‘give back’ as well as the diverse group of the best and brightest students and the dedicated staff at the Center for Career and Professional Success and Office of Advancement.”
As the Match Mentor Program continues to expand, we are constantly seeking new alumni mentors from all academic programs in The College of Arts and Sciences. If you are interested in learning more about the Match Mentor Program, connect with Scott Kustis, Director of Industry Connections for the Center for Career and Professional Success.