Liberal Arts alumni continue tradition of mentorship

Brynn Boehler
March 27, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — When Hannah Bracale was a student at Penn State, she was part of the Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program, sponsored by the Career Enrichment Network in the College of the Liberal Arts. Now, as a professional in business development and strategic account management for TransPerfect, Bracale, a 2013 English and comparative literature alumna, plays the role of mentor in the program.

Bracale’s path at Penn State helped her gain the career skills and the job she has today. In fact, she was recruited by two colleagues who came to a Penn State career fair — who remain her co-workers today. However, it was her own experience in the mentor program that led her into this career field.

“My mentor helped me identify my strengths and guide my career search. He pretty much hit the nail on the head as he guided me into the business and communications space and helped me decide that TransPerfect was an excellent fit for me,” Bracale said.

This positive experience with the program made Bracale excited to mentor a student of her own. When asked about her relationship with her current mentee, psychology major David Lee, she described Lee as an interesting person with whom she shares phone calls and regular communication.

Bracale has worked on valuable professional skills with Lee, including sending calendar invites with agendas, leading productive discussions, improving résumé and LinkedIn skills, and setting goals for a career search.

Heather Baruch-Bueter, student and alumni relations coordinator in the Liberal Arts Career Enrichment Network, said, “Having a mentor allows students to hear from someone who has been in their shoes and might work in a field in which they are interested. Mentors help students work towards their goals and achieve them.”

Some mentors come into the program to give students an advantage that they did not have. Mentor Anthony Demangone, a 1995 international politics alumnus and executive vice president and chief operating officer of the National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions (NAFCU), described mentoring as a “win-win” that allows mentors to learn more about themselves while helping students succeed.

Demangone’s own mentoring skills have been nurtured by his mentors at his company and leaders in the industry. His mentee, French and Francophone studies major Sarah Hodes, benefits from a mentorship philosophy Demangone described by saying, “I don’t have all the answers, but I’ll ask questions, give suggestions and be frank whenever possible.”

For Bracale and Lee, as well Demangone and Hodes, the program has allowed for personal connections and a cycle of service and learning. Mentors who value their own experiences with mentorship and strive to pass on that knowledge provide an extremely valuable resource for students. However, for both mentors, the position isn’t just a job, but an honor they were more than willing to accept.

“With my intense appreciation for the Liberal Arts Mentor Program, love of Penn State and TransPerfect, and desire to help other people find fulfilling life paths after college, I was really honored to be accepted as a mentor,” Bracale said when asked about furthering the program’s tradition.

For liberal arts students especially, the Alumni Mentor Program provides a solid foundation of career knowledge and opportunities for networking. Everyone involved has an opportunity to focus on self-improvement and service.

As mentor Demangone said, “Life is about learning and serving. All of us should learn something new every day, and a life without service is a sad life in my book.”

The Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program is a valuable resource for students in the College of the Liberal Arts who are interested in connecting with Penn State alumni. As of this spring semester, there are more than 150 pairs of alumni and students working together and talking and sharing information in person or electronically.

The program is designed for all students enrolled in the College of the Liberal Arts. Students are required to have completed at least one semester of college before applying. Applications are accepted year-round, so students can apply at their earliest convenience. To be eligible for the program, students must have at least one major in the Liberal Arts, create a Network Simplicity account, and complete an application and online orientation.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated March 28, 2018