Alumni Mentoring Program Guidelines

The goals of the Student-Alumni Mentoring Program are to provide a fulfilling opportunity for students to learn about career paths, professional fields, and educational options from alumni working in their field of interest and to provide a fulfilling opportunity for alumni to be involved with the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences by sharing their knowledge and experience with our students.

Your student protégé may feel apprehensive about contacting or speaking with you. You may have to stimulate conversation by asking about his or her coursework and interests. Ask open-ended questions (that require more than “yes” or “no” answers), and ask the protégé to clarify general expressions of his or her thoughts. Be willing to offer feedback at the appropriate time.

  • How to prepare for their chosen career while still in college
  • Importance of building a portfolio with internships
  • Career options for a specific major
  • Other majors to consider for a specific career
  • Networking skills
  • Professional etiquette, including online presence on social and professional sites
  • Business ethics
  • Resources for internship or job searching
  • What makes a good first job
  • Benefits/career path/location/advancement opportunities
  • Discuss short- and long-term career issues, which may include preference of a geographical area or commitments to other persons, such as spouses, family members, and friends
  • Consult on course selection, research, student organizations, and other extra-curricular activities
  • Exchange and discuss papers written by the student or published by the mentor
  • Discuss trends or developments in the field
  • Research summer jobs and/or internships
  • Write/edit résumé and cover letter
  • Arrange or conduct mock interviews
  • Discuss interviewing tips and experiences
  • Discuss continuing education and other ways to enhance skills and marketability
  • Attend/suggest conferences or symposia
  • Discuss professional readings and publications
  • Discuss professional organizations, affiliations, and certifications
  • Discuss employment offers and salary negotiation
  • Discuss search/recruitment firms and other job-seeking tools
  • Discuss networking strategies or tips
  • Discuss “the elevator pitch” by practicing a short persuasion speech (presenting your best self).
  • Discuss the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
  • Effective communication is essential to healthy relationships and a mentorship is no exception. Be professional in all of your communications.
  • Decide upon a preferred method of communication with the student. Choose a method of communication that is convenient for both of you and that you will both use regularly. It is frustrating to send someone an email and not receive a reply; these problems can be avoided by discussing this at the outset.
  • Complete the “goal setting” sheet in the handbook together. This will allow you to share your expectations with the student, discover the student’s expectations, and set Specific Measurable Attainable Realistic Time-bound (SMART) goals and action steps that will meet or exceed these expectations.
  • If you haven’t heard from the student, contact him or her. You don’t need to wait for the student to contact you first. Feel free to ask the student what is occurring in their classes or student organizations, or if they are participating in any other activities related to their professional interests. You may also wish to contact the student with items of interest to him or her, including current issues or events in your field or opportunities for the student to learn more about his/her field of interest.
  • This program is not designed to provide protégés with jobs or internships. The program seeks to enhance the self and career awareness of protégés so they are better equipped to find internships and jobs that match their goals and interests in the future.
  • The mentoring partnership is designed to last until the student graduates. We understand, however, that some partnerships will last longer than others. We have done our best to match alumni with students based on the information provided in the applications, but sometimes two people just do not “click” in their mentoring relationship. Please note this is not considered a failure on either part, and that participants should feel free to contact Colleen Swetland ( to discuss the situation and bring closure to the relationship, if needed.

Get More Information

Colleen Swetland 814-863-4667 Email:

Alumni Handbook

Download Alumni Mentoring Handbook