The Charger Blog

Students, Alumni Discuss Importance of Mentorship and Connection

As part of a recent panel event, students and alumni shared with the University community their own experiences as mentors and mentees. They discussed two unique new mentorship programs for Pompea College of Business students that enable them to connect and learn from each other as well as PCOB grads.

May 20, 2022

By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications

The University’s campus in Orange, Conn.
The University’s campus in Orange, Conn.

When Abby Murphy ’24 was beginning her time as a Charger, she says adapting to a new environment while away from home was challenging. Doing this during the pandemic, she says, made the transition particularly trying. She is now doing her part to make sure new students have the support they need when they begin their time at the University.

Murphy, a business management major, believes it is important to give back to the University community. She supports her classmates through several important roles, including as secretary for the University’s Women in Business Club and as an Undergraduate Student Government Association representative for the Entrepreneurship Club.

An advocate for mentorship, Murphy is also an active member of Mentor Collective, and she now mentors five first-year Chargers in the Pompea College of Business. Also a mentee in the program, Murphy has received important support from her mentor, a project administrator for NorcomCT, as she has navigated the internship process. She spoke about her experiences with her fellow Chargers as part of a recent mentorship panel discussion.

“I hope attendees gained more knowledge on what to expect in a mentorship relationship and realize it’s really not as daunting as it may seem,” she said. “In my experience of giving my mentees advice, letting them express themselves because they feel safe to and helping them set goals, I’ve learned that the mentorship is really just a place for students to have another resource and support system.”

‘Mentorships are multifaceted’

The panel Murphy participated in, “Meaningful Mentorship: Making the Most of your Charger Connections,” was hosted by the Mentor Collective, a third-party partnering with the University’s Pompea College of Business. Together, they have launched two mentoring programs for students: the Near Peer Mentorship Program, which pairs first-year students with upper-level students, and the Alumni Mentoring Program that matches seniors with PCoB alumni.

Abby Murphy ’24.
Abby Murphy ’24.

“Both programs are uniquely positioned to help students at various stages of their academic careers,” said Jestine Philip, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the management department and coordinator of the mentoring programs. “In an increasingly mentorship-focused job market, being a student mentor helps PCoB students stand out. Senior students (mentees in the alumni program) also have a chance to connect one-on-one with an alumni mentor with similar interests/background who can provide them with advice, insights, and support as they prepare to start their careers.”

The first official event since the programs were launched at the start of the academic year, the panel brought together current student and alumni mentors. They discussed their own experiences and the importance of mentorship.

“I hope students were able to walk away understanding how mentorships are multifaceted and have the ability to open doors,” said Meghan Morgan ’18, ’19 MBA, a campaign specialist for HBO Max. “It is so important to be able to have conversations with someone who has been able to navigate the ‘real world’ to ensure your success after graduation and help you work toward your goals.”

‘Pay it forward to other Chargers’

Emily Bogdanowicz ’23, a sport management major who joined the program her first year as a mentee, has now built a relationship with an alum who is serving as a mentor. She, too, mentors five Chargers, meeting with them monthly to check in and offer her support. She says mentorship is critical for networking and creating important connections.

“That first job is probably going to be from someone you know who knew someone else,” she explains. “Being in a mentorship program allows for networking and creating valuable connections that will help you years down the road. In my own life, I have been able to get internships because of mentors, and I have been able to connect with people in my field who can help share their knowledge with me.”

The panel was an important opportunity for mentors and mentees to connect while sharing their own journeys of mentorship. The event, held virtually, included breakout sessions that enabled further interaction between the students and alumni.

“It was important to reach out to current students through the panel,” said Paul Lenahan ’17, a human resources generalist for Fairfax County Government in Virginia. “Not only was it a way to encourage students to seek mentorship or to act as a mentor, but it was a way to also pay it forward to other Chargers who are about to embark on one of the biggest transition periods of their life.”

The virtual panel brought together students and alumni who discussed the importance of mentorship.
The virtual panel brought together students and alumni who discussed the importance of mentorship.
‘It’s a great opportunity’

For panelist Alphonse Lustrino ’22, mentorship has been critical. He is grateful for his mentor, an alum who, he says, “assured me I made the right choice for my career.

“My interactions with Mentor Collective were nothing short of excellent,” continued Lustrino, a recent sport management graduate. “I found it to be user friendly and extremely helpful. For me, it was important to be a part of the panel because I got to share my experiences, and I hope I inspired others to become mentors as well.”

Many of the mentors involved with Mentor Collective add their experience to their resumes and/or LinkedIn profiles. Murphy, the business management major, hopes the panel helped more students learn about the opportunities mentorship can provide while learning how they, too, can get involved and make a difference.

“I wanted to help bring awareness to the student body that this mentorship program is available to them,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity, whether they want to be a mentee or mentor. It’s a wonderful program to be a part of, and I would recommend it to anyone.”