Sponsored - Building a strong professional network can begin early with the right opportunities. South Dakota State University students are finding one such opportunity with the SDSU Alumni Association’s Alumni Mentor Program.
Travis Jensen, vice president of leadership initiatives at the SDSU Alumni Association, created the program last fall in partnership with various organizations and offices on campus. It’s the broadest, most widespread formal mentorship program offered at SDSU.
Mentors come from various backgrounds and locations, and mentorship meetings take place in person, via video call or on the phone.
During the application process, students are asked to rank their matching preference based on career, major, geography and gender. Taking into account the students’ preferences, the program matches eligible students with alumni.
Mentors work with their assigned students to help them foster knowledge and skills needed for their professional futures. Monthly meetings with assigned activities help facilitate conversation and allow opportunities for the alumni mentor to offer guidance.
Morgan Larson, co-founder of Duet and hospitality manager at Leadership South Dakota, was an alumni mentor in the program’s first year last fall and found the experience valuable.
“First, Travis Jensen did an amazing job pairing my mentee and me together. We’re both from rural communities in South Dakota, both interested in creative fields and have a lot in common otherwise. The relationship felt effortless from the start.”
Larson appreciated the guidance provided by Jensen and the alumni association on different topics she and her mentee should work on together during their monthly meetings, as well as the flexibility in expectations from the program.
Even though their official year of mentorship has ended, Larson and her mentee still keep in touch.
“It’s so true when you hear folks say you get just as much if not more out of being a mentor as having one,” Larson said. “I’m so glad I signed up to do this, and I loved the excuse to go to Brookings every now and then.”
Working together to build something greater
The mentorship program harnesses the expertise of SDSU’s accomplished alumni to help the next generation of Jackrabbits build something greater for the future. Learn more about how SDSU students and alumni are making an impact at impact.sdstate.edu.