Young alumna gives back by being a mentor in the CSE Mentor Program

As an undergraduate in materials science, Jenna Ronquillo (MatSci ’14) participated in the CSE Mentor Program. Now, as an R&D engineer at General Mills, she’s experiencing the program from the other side as a mentor.

Ronquillo is currently in her second year as a mentor for CSE students, and she’s had a very positive experience. For the 2015-16 school year, she is mentor to Guy Casutto, a junior in materials science.

“We’re the same major and the same age, so we have similar things we’re going through. To say ‘I remember that and it was tough. Here are the things that helped me’ is great,” Ronquillo said.

Having recently graduated, the professors and classes Ronquillo had are almost identical to Cassuto, so he appreciates her ability to give advice based on how she navigated them.

“It’s easy for her to relate to my experiences because she’s done everything that I am currently going through,” Cassuto said.

Ronquillo and Cassuto typically meet on campus each month for half an hour. During that time they discuss resumes, how to get an internship, or even personal struggles, which include balancing personal and professional life.

“It’s awesome; I ask whatever is on my mind.” Cassuto said. “I think these mentors have a lot of insight they can provide. They can give answers to questions you didn’t even know to ask.”

In addition to career guidance, Ronquillo encouraged Casutto to pursue undergraduate research—which he did. He’s now working in a lab on campus and loves it.

“I’m really into what I’m doing now working with electromagnetic properties and materials. I can really see myself pursuing a career in that direction when I graduate,” Cassuto said.

For an average of one hour a month time commitment, Ronquillo feels as though she gains a lot from being a mentor.

“I really love mentoring…it’s easy to give back and help out. I get energized helping others and having those deeper conversations. It makes me excited to see someone trying so hard and being able to say ‘it’s tough but you [can] push through,’” Ronquillo said.

To learn more about how you can mentor a student, visit the CSE Mentor Program web page.