As part of the Industry Mentorship Program, Laura Haas (pictured above, left), the Dean of the College of Information and Computer Science, was a mentor to Mariem Snoussi (pictured above, right), a Junior at Smith College majoring in Computer Science.
One of the goals of the REBLS network is to identify effective solutions for students to thrive as they transition from high school to higher education or from higher education to workforce -- a mentor is an important resource who can help build bridges for the student as they make decisions about their future. Having a mentor can provide important guidance to students at a crucial point of time when they are exploring the possibilities of whether to begin a MSc or PhD or join industry. The goal of the Industry Mentorship Program is to create an engaging partnership between community college/university students and industry mentors. With a focus on underrepresented students in STEM from community colleges and UMass campuses, this program connects leaders in industry and academia with students to provide individualized mentorship. This year, this working group was awarded a $10,000 seed grant from REBLS to build this mentorship program.
The program has two sessions:
- February, 2021 to April, 2021
- September, 2021 to November, 2021
For the second session to begin in Fall 2021, the program is calling for mentors in Chemical, Mechanical, and Civil Engineering as well as in Mathematics and Computer Science. If you are interested in providing mentorship to one or more students, please take this mentor survey.
The first session was very successful. Mentors were drawn from various industries (IBM, Hale Health, Dell EMC, Google, Thermo Fisher, Lightforge Games, MathWorks) and from UMass Amherst (Academic Deans and Senior Lecturers). Student mentees were from diverse demographics-- 70% female, 56% Asian, 28% White and 15% African American and Hispanic students; 20% of these participants were first generation college students.
In a post-program survey, students said the mentorship helped them meet their personal and professional goals. These goals included:
- Receiving guidance on perfecting job applications and preparing for interviews
- Gaining interpersonal and communication skills
- Building an identity in the STEM field
- Getting advice on the transition from college to industry
- Improving technical knowledge
One student testified that their mentor helped them to “land internships and better understand what grad school would be like.” Another said her mentor “offered a lot of advice and tips on how to approach interviews, deal with imposter syndrome, and search for a job.”
To learn more about REBLS seed grants see our Request for Proposals.
To learn more about the project, reach out to facilitators below.