Event Recap: MVP Alumni Mentoring Program Kickoff

MVP Alumni Mentoring Program Kickoff

February 24-26, 2021

 On Wednesday February 24, 2021, the Center for Career and Professional Development virtually kicked-off the second cycle of Mentors and Mentees as members of Sacred Heart University’s Mentoring Visionary Pioneers (MVP) Alumni Mentoring Program.

Through an application process, the formalized mentorship program matched Mentors (employers) with Mentees (students) based on industry and interest. The program is an opportunity for Mentors to provide guidance to Mentees to have more of a comprehensive understanding of their classroom teachings, and its correlation to the work environment.

The vision and benefits of this mentoring program will help our young Pioneers develop career competencies, leadership skills, build professional networks, learn about their industry of interest, and receive professional guidance as they pursue their career path.

With the launch (May 2020) of the MVP program during the height of COVID, the program kept the mentees engaged as it was an alternative opportunity for the Mentees to stay involved because of their internships either being cancelled or put on hold. Due to the success of the program’s first cycle, the second cycle kicked-off with six additional cohorts. Those cohorts include academic programs and student clubs (Social Work, Physician Assistant [PA], Speech Language Pathology [SLP], Government and Law, Black Student Union [BSU], and Public Relations Student Society of America [PRSSA]). Inclusive of the seven cohorts, there are 155 participants (89 Mentees, 66 Mentors of which 58 are alumni and 8 are industry partners). The Mentees inducted in this cycle encompass all of SHU’s academic programs, with an average GPA of 3.9.

The session was facilitated by Helen Boyke (Director Graduate Students, Veterans and Alumni) in partnership with Patti Moran (Director of Career Programming and Experiential Learning). In attendance were some of SHU’s senior leaders, Jim Barquinero (SVP Student Affairs, Enrollment and Athletics), and Dr. John Petillo (President of Sacred Heart University). Dr. Petillo motivated the group by providing words of inspiration to help them continue along their path to success and embrace the opportunities of the MVP program.

The session was also joined by several SHU alumni and industry professionals as Mentors, some of whom returned from the 1st cycle to continue in their role as Mentors.

Samantha Young – Graduating class of ‘22, and recipient of the first cycle MVP Outstanding Mentee Award was the Undergraduate guest speaker. Samantha shared her MVP Mentee experiences, the pursuit of her present goals, her future HR career goals upon completion of her degree in Psychology, and how to stay encouraged.

Brittany Santella – SHU ‘17 (Director of Human Resources at Sectra, Inc.) was the program’s Alumni guest speaker, and was a Mentor for the inauguration of this program. Brittany shared some of her dynamic experiences as she has had the opportunity to be a Mentor and a Mentee.

The BSU cohort guest speaker was Chuck Marcelin – SHU ‘13 (Technical Recruiting Manager at BARK). Chuck was a Mentor for the first cycle of the MVP program. He inspired the group by sharing some words of encouragement to keep the Mentees moving forward in taking advantage of this tremendous opportunity, and shared some of his insightful experiences that the Mentors/Mentees can reflect upon as they go through their mentoring journey.

The SLP cohort session was joined by Cristina Pino (SLP Clinical Assistant Professor) and Susan Kostopoulos (SLP Program Assistant). Professor Pino was the featured speaker who imparted some of her experiences as well as industry expectations that Mentees can successfully utilize as they learn from their Mentors.

Adam Olsen, who is the Chair, Director, and Clinical Assistant Professor in the PA Studies program, was on hand to congratulate the PA inductees into the program. Professor Olsen conveyed the honor and importance of the inductees being in the PA specific MVP program and the many advantages this opportunity provides.

The virtual sessions concluded with a slide presentation of Mentor/Mentee parings that highlighted the MVP Alumni Mentoring Program as a successful partnership with SHU alums and industry partners.

By Helen Boyke
Helen Boyke Director of Alumni, Veteran and Graduate Career Development Helen Boyke