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Monday, January 24, 2022

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SDSU Career Services  is now recruiting alumni and other volunteers to serve as mentors in the Aztec Mentor Program. SDSU Career Services is now recruiting alumni and other volunteers to serve as mentors in the Aztec Mentor Program.
 


The Importance of Mentorship

As the job market continues to be impacted by COVID-19, the Aztec Mentor Program provides an opportunity for relationship-building and career readiness for students.
By Tobin Vaughn
 

“SDSU alumni are great mentors because they know by supporting current students they ensure future success. They provide the next steps to career readiness and to improving our communities.”

Michelle Harty (’94) is CEO of Meeting Sites Pro, Inc., a Florida-based meeting and event management company with clients worldwide. She credits much of her professional success to the many mentors who have advised her since she was a teenager.

“I had teachers who helped guide me and who inspired me to be the best version of myself,” she said. “Because of that mentorship, I was the first person in my family to graduate from college, and it’s how I learned the importance of these relationships in education and career success.”

As a San Diego State University alumna, Harty has participated in SDSU Career Services’ Aztec Mentor Program (AMP) for several years and estimates she has mentored hundreds of students and young professionals throughout her career. She currently mentors five — each with their own specific expectations and needs, so she tailors the individual mentorships accordingly.

But recently, Harty has noticed a commonality among many of her mentees resulting from the current overall weakness in the job market. “A lot of them are feeling very discouraged and hopeless,” she said. “Those are the words I would definitely use in this environment and I don’t blame them.”

Now more than ever

Harty’s observation resonates with the AMP team, which is now recruiting alumni and other volunteers to register as mentors by the end of August. Student registration for fall 2020 begins Aug. 17 and runs through Sept. 30.

“We are looking for mentors who can offer encouragement to juniors, seniors and graduate students, especially by providing leads to internships, professional guidance, and connections to professional communities,” said Diane Marin, who coordinates AMP. “This year more than ever we need alumni mentors committed to providing opportunity.

“SDSU alumni are great mentors because they know by supporting current students they ensure future success. They provide the next steps to career readiness and to improving our communities.”

Harty agrees that a forward-looking focus is key for students and their mentors. “It's important to have a positive attitude regardless of what is going on around you, especially now,” she said.

Paradigm shift

Encouraging students and young professionals to remain open to opportunities and self-improvement is something Harty stresses. “There’s a lot of doom and gloom out there, but it’s a matter of your perspective or your paradigm,” she said.

“There’s availability right now for innovation and thinking differently if you just shift your paradigm to make sure you are looking for it. When you do that, your whole outlook changes.”

Harty said there are benefits to both sides of the mentorship equation. As someone who has benefited from mentoring relationships throughout her life, she remains a strong advocate of their importance.

“It’s a really great relationship that I would encourage everybody to experience,” she said. “Don’t be afraid of asking anybody to be a mentor because I think most people want to do it, they are just not sure how to go about finding mentees. It’s amazing what happens when you just ask.”

Learn more about becoming a mentor or mentee at amp.sdsu.edu.