Mentorship program strengthens professional network for IST students

Sarah Rothfleisch
May 14, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Sometimes, the greatest lessons come from someone who has lived them.

That’s why the College of IST has revitalized its alumni mentorship program — to give students meaningful, real-world and professional guidance from alumni who have experience in the industry.

In the program, alumni are matched to students based on their professional area of interest. Through regular meetings and conversations, students gain a mentor who provides first-hand advice about careers in IST-related fields and feedback on the student’s path.

For rising junior Cassidy DiPaola, the mentorship program has been an invaluable way to build her network and receive advice and guidance on her academic and professional life.

“Since the beginning of the program, my mentor and I have scheduled monthly calls to discuss topics such as internships, IST classes and the transition from student or intern to full-time employee,” she said.

DiPaola’s mentor, 2017 alumna Sarah Moore, recognized the value in mentoring students because of the relationships she formed during her time at IST.

“I have had my fair share of mentors to get to the place I am professionally, and I thought that I would be able to provide useful advice to others based off my experiences,” said Moore, who works as a senior technical consultant at IBM in Washington, D.C. “I was then selected and paired with my mentee based off common career interests and we have been talking ever since!”

In addition to gaining advice from alumni in the program, students form close professional relationships with their mentors. For rising junior Michael Jasper, his mentor has been able to help him in many ways.

“One of the biggest takeaways I’ve gotten is to not be afraid to be open with your mentor; they really are there to help you in any way they can,” he said. “It’s not just strictly educational help all the time, and the relationship I’ve created with my mentor is very open and straightforward.”

Jasper’s mentor has asked to remain anonymous due to the nature of his profession. However, he said that the rewards of helping Jasper develop into a successful student and professional have been personally meaningful.

“I feel as Penn Staters it's within our culture to provide a selfless service to our alma mater, whether it be through mentoring; donating to various funds, endowments or scholarships; or just [through] any other way they can,” Jasper’s mentor said. “The most rewarding part of being a mentor is being able to use my experiences and life lessons as an exemplar to help guide students that can be used to put them on a path to success.”

To learn more about the college’s mentorship program, visit ist.psu.edu/alumni-donors/mentoring.

Last Updated May 15, 2020