Sokolov-Miller Financial and Literacy Center sees growth of first mentor program

December 02, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Though only months into the launch of its alumni-student mentoring program, the Sokolov-Miller Family Financial and Life Skills Center is seeing the first relationships grow between program participants.

This year, the center will participate in Giving Tuesday with the hope that donors will support the mentor program. Giving Tuesday at Penn State begins at 6:55 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 2, and closes at 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 3. A link to the Sokolov-Miller Family Center’s giving page can be found here.

The new alumni mentoring program through the center is the only program of its type at Penn State to focus solely on financial literacy. And given that the alumni network is far-reaching, mentors and mentees don’t have to meet in person — all interactions can be done online.

One of the first mentoring matches was Claudia Radzwich, a sophomore in the Division of Undergraduate Studies; and Frank Guadagnino, vice president for administration and associate general counsel at Penn State.

He said that personal financial literacy applies to everyone, in every field.

“No matter what field you go into, no matter what degree you walk away with, personal financial literacy factors into your life,” he said. “Everybody needs to know basic economics and financial principles with respect to managing your own accounts, getting a mortgage, taking out student loans. It applies to everybody.”

Radzwich already works as a student ambassador within the Sokolov-Miller Family Center and helps to educate her peers about their personal finances, but she said the mentoring program was an opportunity to learn even more and connect with a professional.

“I think it’s a really cool opportunity for alumni to help people,” Radzwich said. “Penn State has a huge alumni network and everyone is really passionate about Penn State.”

Radzwich and Guadagnino are just getting to know each other and have met twice in person — since they are both at the University Park campus — and plan to meet more.

Mentors and mentees can discuss anything related to personal finances, such as budgets, student loans and credit cards.

Applications for mentees can be found here. Students only need to be enrolled at Penn State; there are no other prerequisites for entering into the program. As of now, program organizers said they are looking more for students who would be interested in matching with one of the mentors already signed up for the program.

Mentors can apply here. Organizers said that mentors don’t need to have specialized financial training or financial experience to mentor students. Anyone who has managed a household budget has sufficient experience.

Guadagnino said the mentoring program was a great way to give back as an alumnus and remain engaged with students.

“I think it’s an excellent way of giving back, and those of us who have benefited greatly not just from the Penn State experience, but a lifetime in the professional world, I think, have an obligation to give back when you can,” he said. “This is an easy way to do it.”

Donations for the mentoring program will go to supporting participation in Penn State’s LionLink platform for mentoring programs, costs associated with website maintenance, additional staff or graduate assistants to monitor the program and advertising support and promotion.

The program was developed through the center with the help of the Penn State Alumni Association.

The mentoring program is just one of many services the Sokolov-Miller Family Center provides in its mission to educate the entire Penn State community about personal financial management.

Penn State’s Sokolov-Miller Family Financial and Life Skills Center offers services to the entire Penn State community and is part of Penn State Undergraduate Education, the academic administrative unit that provides leadership and coordination for University-wide programs and initiatives in support of undergraduate teaching and learning at Penn State. Learn more about Undergraduate Education at

Last Updated December 17, 2019