Professional Mentoring Series: Industry Exploratory Mentoring Group (IEMG)

Roo Hiremath (She, hers) – Housing & Residential Education

Michael Johnson (He, Him) – Career & Professional Development

The Industry Exploratory Mentoring Group (IEMG) is a continuation of the Industry Insights Group pilot program that gave students the opportunity to connect with alumni and explore various industries to learn more of the individual divisions that make up and support an organization. Whereas the previous pilot group focused on the STEM field, this collaboration with Housing & Residential Education focused on residential students who have yet to decide their major. The six (6) student participants learned about the importance of mentoring along their exploratory journey and how to get the most out of their mentoring relationships. We had four meetings scheduled for Winter and Spring terms with meetings and communications with mentors in between. We had a very enthusiastic alum, Neda Kikhia (BA ’16, MA ’20), who served as mentor and not only shared her journey towards her current career but also engaged in supporting mentees as they discovered their own paths. In addition to partnering with Housing & Residential Education for recruitment of students, Roo Hiremath supported the operations needs of the group with program and activity creation, event scheduling and food ordering.

Our first gathering was held in the new Burwell Center for Career Achievement. The Shopneck Pavillion was great space for hosting an evening of fellowship and learning between students and alumni. We were able to sit around the beautifully structured large table to share experiences, hopes and expectations for involvement in the Industry Exploratory Mentoring Group (IEMG).

Our second meeting was a City Trek to Urban Putt in downtown Denver. We used this as another team building opportunity with students, alumni mentor and staff. We were able to share more stories and get updates on mentee goals. Our intent with the social outings was to help foster connections between mentor and mentee that felt accessible and fun rather than formal and high stakes, as some students may view connecting with a mentor. The goal was always to humanize our mentor.

Our next meeting included three DU alumni from three very different backgrounds who were all employed by Medtronics. We wanted to highlight those alumni and that company because of the very different roles each of them played within the same company. They were all able to share their experiences and pathways to their current roles within Medtronics. Mentees were really interested in the fact that our guests shared the good and the bad parts of their academic and career timelines. The students were also very interested in their interactive presentation as well as the advice each of the alumni provided to the group.

Since we couldn’t find a time for our students to meet, we determined that our final communication with the mentees would be to provide resources for Career & Professional Development as well as a request for feedback regarding the mentoring program.

The IEMG program supports each area within the 4D student development model (Careers & Lives of Purpose, Intellectual Growth, Wellbeing and Character) along with a strong focus on developing career readiness competencies as identified by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) that include Career & Self Development, Communication and Professionalism.

Our exploratory venture (City Trek) took us on a visit to different organizations around the Denver area. We still relied on our Career & Professional Development (CPD) colleagues for their career readiness expertise. Our alumni mentors, City Treks and CPD trainings will all combine to help our students reach the following learning outcomes:

  • Understanding of how to review careers and jobs that make up an industry of interest
  • Communication & Networking skills
  • Understanding how a mentoring relationship can be used to support goals
  • Resume and cover letter creation or updates with Career Advisors
  • Awareness of what professionalism means in different industries
  • Resources for career exploration and alumni/professional mentoring

For our next step, we are looking at ways to make the program scalable in order to offer this opportunity to more students and alumni mentors.

By Shannon Desmond
Shannon Desmond Senior Client Support Lead