SOU’s Alumni Mentoring Program gives students an inside look on professional life

Odds are you’ve never heard of Southern Oregon University’s Alumni Mentoring Program, considering only a handful of students are enrolled in it.

“The Alumni Mentoring Program is set up to give students the advantages to succeed, as well as have all of the tools to benefit and truly shine when they go out into the world,” said Doreen O’Skea, director of Alumni Relations at SOU. “This is a growing program, and we are making a lot of effort to get the word out on campus.”

According to O’Skea, the university has great academic advisors and professors, but sometimes students just want to sit down and talk to a professional about what their day is really like, what they actually do, and what they see on an everyday basis in their field.

The students who have participated in the program have really benefited, said O’Skea, adding that it’s an opportunity that gives students a professional friend who is not a parent, a peer, or a teacher.

According to John Bukey, a program volunteer, the Alumni Mentoring Program is designed for students who have chosen a career path and would like to know “what they are getting themselves into.”

The mentors help guide their protégés through understanding professionalism and what to expect in the career field they have chosen, and even teach students how to write proper resumes.

As a society we have gotten very casual in how we dress, how we talk, and how we speak, said O’Skea, saying that being professional is classy, and that mentors are there to help students understand what it is to be professional.

The program has over 100 mentors waiting to be matched with protégés, and the members of the Alumni Relations Center are doing everything in their power to reach out to students who would benefit from this program.

Kathryn Stein, an SOU student and spokeswomen for the program, said that her job and goal is to increase visibility for students. Her goal is to make the Alumni Mentoring Program more recognizable on a face-to-face basis with her peers.

In order for the program to become a main resource for students it has to become almost viral, said O’Skea, and word of mouth plays an important role in this. The students who have utilized the program have to give testimonials to other students about what this program did for them on a personal level.

“We are trying to provide as many opportunities while students are here, so they can really enrich their education,” O’Skea mentions. “We want our students to be involved with the university forever, so we want to have great opportunities for them, and the Alumni Mentoring Program is one of them.”

“This is an opportunity that maybe you ought to explore,” Bukey said, advising students to look into it.

Those students who are interested in participating in the program may contact Doreen O’Skea in SOU’s Plunkett Center on the corner of Mountain Ave. and Siskiyou Blvd. For other information regarding the SOU Alumni Mentoring Program call 552-6126.




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