We met with Aubrey Knight, Director of Alumni Services, to discuss the processes and benefits of the Student Alumni Mentoring Program, also known as “SAM” at University of St. Francis. The program matches students of all levels and majors with an alumnus in the same field to provide guidance, networking opportunities, and career opportunities. It is an opportunity for students to build connections with their mentors, other students’ mentors, as well as other students in the program.
How does the SAM program work?
Student and alumni both submit applications at the beginning of the school year (student applications are due October 4th). The applications are then looked at from a career standpoint first to pair students with alumni who are in the field that the student is pursuing. Next, the applications dive further into interests, hobbies, aspirations, etc. and these are also taken into consideration when making matches. It is important that the pairs have qualities in common to create that connection that will be beneficial to both the alum and the student.
What can students gain from the program?
Both parties gain access to an extensive professional network by participating in the SAM program. Along with gaining access to the alumni mentors, by connecting with them, you also gain access to their professional networks. Students also get one on one interaction with their mentor in the form of monthly communication for discussions and guidance.
What are the requirements?
For anyone interested in joining the program as an alumni mentor or a student mentee, an application must be submitted, and the pairing process takes about a month. Once students and alumni pair, they are sent an email with information about the mandatory induction dinner, held in early November where they will become acquainted with each other in person. After the induction dinner, it is only required that SAM members attend the Career Networking Dinner in February. Also, the pairs of students and alumni are to converse monthly; whether it be via email, text, face to face meeting, etc. Every month, members will receive an email containing discussion topics and resources to help ease the process. This program designed for the busy worker as well as the busy student keeps requirements low and communication open to accommodate busy schedules.
What are some successful outcomes of SAM?
There have been many success stories from the SAM program. One international student paired with the CFO of In-N-Out Burger, and the CFO took care of the student’s flight costs to fly out to California and participate in an internship with In-N-Out, that this student may not have been able to participate in given the flight costs. Also, a student who matched with an alumnus in Washington DC was able to utilize the alumni’s network to get an internship in Washington DC. These are just a couple of the many students who have gotten internships, jobs, and otherwise great benefits from the SAM program.
For more information, contact Aubrey Knight at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit stfrancis.edu/sam