New Mentor Program Connects Students with Professionals

Sophomores meet monthly with mentors and benefit from their insight and experience

Sacred Heart University’s Mentoring Visionary Pioneers (MVP) Program recently completed its successful inaugural year, despite moving its sessions online due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The MVP program connects students and experienced professionals, with the aim of ensuring a smooth transition for the students from campus to career. “The MVP Program has been a work in progress since the fall of 2018, and to have the vision come to fruition has been a pleasure to watch,” said Helen Boyke, director of career and professional development for graduate students and alumni, who spearheaded this program.

Eighteen alumni and industry partners served as mentors over the summer to 23 Sacred Heart sophomores who were matched by late March. The program officially began in May and concluded Oct. 1.

Mentors came from various organizations, including Canon Solutions America, ESPN, Penn Medicine, AXA Financial and CBS Therapy. Several of these mentors, such as Deesha Marvania, owner of Pranna Physical Therapy and Wellness, have expressed interest in providing future internships, projects and employment opportunities to their mentees. Other mentors found the program to be as rewarding for them as it was for the students. “Sharing my experience and insight with a fellow Pioneer was enriching for both of us,” said Courtney Perlee ’10, business strategy manager for Canon Solutions America. “I am walking away with a new, refreshed perspective on the industry. It felt good to give back. I would have loved to have this resource during my time at Sacred Heart.”

Mentors and mentees met monthly, and mentors provided advice to heighten industry awareness, professional insight, executive presence and engagement with other professionals. These meetings enabled students to learn about their fields of interest, build their professional network and identify the next steps necessary to develop their career. “This program allowed me to ask all the questions that I have had about my profession for years” said nursing major Molly Kearns, who is now a junior. “It gave me a true insight of what my profession will be like, and I feel so much more confident going into my field.”

Invitations for the program’s next cycle during the spring 2021 semester will be distributed this month. Students who register will be matched with a mentor by November.

During this term, the MVP program will introduce partnerships specific to departments and student clubs on campus to enhance students’ experiences. “Being able to reconnect with successful alumni and seeing the outpour of support they are willing to give our current students has been one of the most rewarding parts of developing the MVP program,” said Patti Moran, director of career programming and experiential learning, who supported Boyke throughout this process.

By Corey Stokes
Corey Stokes Associate Director of Career Student Engagement Corey Stokes