What can recent Drew University alumni offer current members of the student body? This is a question that members of the Drew Young Alumni Association (DYAA) asked themselves before coming up with an answer: mentorship. As of Feb. 2021, the DYAA has begun launching the pilot of its mentorship program, with current Drew CLA and graduate students and alumni. It is currently in its first wave.
The program, set up as a first trial period for what the mentorship program hopes to expand into, is hosted on DrewConnect and pairs recently graduated alumni mentors with student mentees. During the course of the mentorship, the pairs are expected to meet for at least five 30-minute meetings over the course of 10 weeks.
If things go according to plan, the DYAA plans to lengthen the mentorship period and expand their pool of mentors to give more students a chance to participate.
“You should join this program if you want to take an active role in refining your personal and professional goals, building your skillset, and making connections with the broader Drew community,” said DYAA outreach and programming director Jonathan Van Dongen (’17). “You’ll be surprised by how much further you can see by standing on the shoulders of [other] Drewids.”
Through the program, mentors and mentees are matched based on a series of questions and preferences. The week prior to matching, mentees are encouraged to browse the list of mentors and “favorite” up to three they would like to connect with.
“We’ve sought to provide a mechanism wherein alumni can be more engaged with the current student body while helping students achieve the goals they have for their undergraduate careers and beyond,” said Van Dongen..
Van Dongen added, “We would like to encourage anyone who is serious about their personal and professional development to participate in this mentorship program.”
Participants are also encouraged to attend supplemental events outside of these meetings, including check-ins and information sessions.
The DYAA is a new association, created last year, led by a handful of recent graduates. Van Dongen said that the association wants to rekindle the sense of community that alumni and students alike have experienced at Drew. It wants to foster meaningful connections, host events, keep alumni connected, share information and offer programming to support career development, according to its website.
“The best part about Drew is it’s community and commitment to creating connections with one another,” said Kassel Franco-Garibay (’20) and current Students and Young Alumni Liaison. She added, “The mentoring program is an excellent opportunity for Drew students to develop and strengthen professional and interpersonal skills in a structured environment while nurturing connections with the broader Drew community.”
If you would like to be part of the second wave of the program, The DYAA is currently receiving applications for Wave II through April 4, so please visit https://drewconnect.drew.edu/hub/drew/program/mentoring-program/about .