Sunday, March 31

Reaching Out

On Friday we had the privilege of hosting a panel discussion on mentoring with three really amazing CMU faculty members.  Dr. Phame Camarena, Dr. Claudia Douglass and Dr. Michelle Steinhilb all shared their stories of having instrumental mentors (whether they knew it at the time or not) along their educational and professional journeys as well as their experiences mentoring students.  Candid with their advice, I think the primary message is to be open to finding mentoring opportunities in lots of different places and don't be afraid to reach out to others.  You never know when someone will end up being a pivotal force in your life.

Another key point emphasized by all of our panel members is being proactive in fostering mentoring relationships early on in your undergraduate career.  No matter what trajectory you follow once you complete your bachelor's, chances are, you will need people (read: more than just one person) to vouch for your character, provide a reference for a job or write a letter of recommendation for graduate school.  Becoming connected with faculty (beyond just attending their class) can often lead to mutually beneficial relationships - especially if you are assisting a faculty member with their research and doing a really awesome job!

The take home:
  • Develop mentoring relationships with as many individuals as you think you need
  • Be open and curious 
  • Be super respectful and always work hard
  • Say thank you - a lot!
  • Be yourself and ask lots of questions

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