Make a difference as a CSE mentor

More than 200 students are paired with alumni and industry professionals

Every fall, the College of Science and Engineering Mentor Program matches more than 200 students with industry professionals who are alumni and friends of the college. These relationships provide learning experiences for students outside the classroom, where they have opportunities to gain insight into the working world and get advice on how to be successful young professionals.

“It’s really nice to have a version of you years from where you are right now to guide you,” said Guy Cassuto, a senior majoring in materials science, who participated in the program last year.

For mentors, the relationship allows them to remain engaged with the College of Science and Engineering, as well as gain personal and professional rewards. Sharing unique workplace and professional experiences is an immeasurable learning benefit to students.

Jeffrey Schott, a first-time mentor last year, said that after paying little attention to requests to join the mentor program, he finally decided to sign up. “It was a wonderful chance to get to know a student and provide a sounding board for questions and concerns," he said.


"It was truly a rewarding experience, and I'm signing up, again, this year,” Schott said.


As a mentor, alumni and industry professionals work one-on-one with a student for only one to two hours per month from October to April. Through a monthly in-person or videoconference meeting and other e-communications, mentors help students prepare for the transition from college life to the workplace as well as build their own coaching, communication, and leadership skills.

Anyone who is interested in helping a current student prepare for what's next and guide them in their journey from college to the workplace would make a great mentor. Mentors need not be University of Minnesota alumni, nor live in the Twin Cities area. Mentors can email and videoconference with their mentees from anywhere.

Visit the CSE Mentor website to sign up. The deadline for mentors to register is Friday, Sept. 26. Mentors will be notified who they are matched with during the week of Oct. 10 and are encouraged to attend the Mentor Orientation and Kickoff on Tuesday Oct. 25, 7-9 p.m. The Orientation webinar for mentors outside the Twin Cities area will be Nov. 10, Noon-1 p.m.

For more information about mentor expectations and activities, visit cse.umn.edu/mentor or contact Joelle Larson, CSE Director of Alumni Relations at jblarson@umn.edu or 612-626-1802.