MentorNet Announces Immediate Call for More Mentors to Help Grow the Engineering and Scientific Workforce
SANTA CLARA, Calif., Nov. 7, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — MentorNet, a non-profit that helps university students in technical and scientific fields achieve their career goals through one-on-one online mentoring relationships, today announced an effort to significantly increase its roster of mentors. Since September, the program has added hundreds of students seeking mentors in industry and research with the goal of meeting the critical national need for university-trained engineers and scientists to enter the workforce.
“Due to the immense success of our protege-recruitment campaign, many hundreds of students, most of them women or minorities, are waiting for us to match them with mentors,” said MentorNet’s CEO, David Porush. “We are seeking the help of experienced engineers and scientists to meet this need by asking them to volunteer their time. In return, I can only say most mentors find the experience truly gratifying. They learn about the rising generation of future professionals, reflect on their own careers, and practice skills to use with their own teams while imparting valuable lessons that are not easily gained in the academic setting.”
Brian Coppa, Ph.D. can attest to this. A MentorNet “champion mentor” who has volunteered for the organization for nearly five years, Coppa has positively impacted the careers, and ultimately the lives, of more than 25 science and engineering undergraduate and graduate students. Coppa has used knowledge gleaned from his industry experience to offer students realistic advice on job prospects in materials science and other fields.
“It is particularly rewarding to form mentoring relationships with students now, in the wake of decreasing budgets for higher education and federal government-sponsored research, making degrees more expensive and graduate school positions more competitive,” said Coppa. “I’m happy to assist in these efforts and help to streamline their path through school and into the working world.”
Since its founding in 1997, MentorNet has matched more than 30,000 seasoned professionals who share their wisdom, guidance and support with university-level STEM students. Thousands of mentors from more than 1,700 companies have volunteered their time, about fifteen minutes a week by email, while encouraging their proteges and guiding them to succeed.
Many mentoring relationships are just the beginning of longlasting connections. Michael Doery, also a champion MentorNet mentor and Senior Project Manager for The United Illuminating Co. in Shelton, Conn., still maintains contact with the first of the 26 students he’s mentored since 2004.
“I’m happy to know she has a very successful career,” Doery said, noting that he presently is mentoring three students. “I get real satisfaction in helping someone navigate the complexities of an engineering degree. Many students have the same issues with time management, critical thinking and career planning.
“But then, someone will throw me a curveball, which keeps me on my toes,” Doery said. “I wish this was available when I was a student! I also have two girls, who unfortunately haven’t been bitten by the engineering bug. I hope someone is willing to help them along their path. This is my way of ‘paying it forward.’”
“We need as many as a million additional STEM grads to enter the U.S. workforce in the next decade to stay competitive in the global marketplace,” said Porush. “Mentoring is one of the most effective ways to encourage students to stick with it, overcome hurdles, and prepare for the real world of work. We obviously couldn’t do it without the generosity and commitment of our mentors and the corporations that support us because they see the value we provide.”
MentorNet is a 501Ã‚©(3) non-profit educational organization. Its mission is to help engineering and science students at the university level – especially women and underrepresented minorities – achieve their career goals by matching them with mentors and guiding their one-on-one relationships over the Web. MentorNet is supported by fees from campus, corporate, government laboratory and organization partners and by grants from public and private foundations. To learn more about MentorNet, visit www.MentorNet.net.