The Mentor Collective program connects first-year and transfer engineering students with a recent UC Davis engineering graduate to help them navigate challenges and recognize the various opportunities the College of Engineering has to offer. These alumni mentors are ready to listen, inspire and guide students when needed.
“I'm grateful that someone who has done very well for himself is willing to take time to share knowledge with me,” said Nasser Issa, computer science transfer student. “He helped me gain confidence with my coursework and helped come up with new strategies to succeed in the classroom and with personal development as a future software engineer."
To get connected, students and alumni mentors register and complete an online survey to assess personality and experience. Students are then matched with an alumni mentor based on common interests, background, academics and professional aspirations.
Since this program began in fall 2019, 451 students have matched with a mentor and more than 2,500 conversations have been logged at the College of Engineering.
"When I was in college, I was terrified of the future. I wasn’t doing well in classes because I didn't know how to ask for help. I struggled with balancing time between projects, classes and friends,” said Cheryl Kung, electrical engineering alumna. “At that time, I wish I had someone who I could talk to about my problems without judgement. I only learned after graduating that the future is actually not as terrifying or confusing as it may seem. I hope that I can help someone else who struggled like I did.”
Through Mentor Collective, students learn what to expect in classes and how to approach new experiences. They also gain career advice and valuable insights from alumni who are professionals and leaders in their fields.
“I was offered a student assistant position, thanks to my mentor. She encouraged me to look for an internship and prepared me for the interview. I couldn't have done it without her," said Amelia Nye, civil engineering transfer student.
Alumni also expand their networks and hone their management skills through Mentor Collective.
"Helping my mentee see what it’s like to have a career in her major is helpful, also my experiences in school and internships helped her see what is out there," said Kinsey Mead, mechanical engineering alumna.
Starting college can be difficult to navigate—especially in our current situation—but the support of a mentor can help ease this transition and set up students to have a positive experience during their first year on campus.
"I feel that I had a unique college experience where I struggled with a lot and had to find myself mostly on my own. Luckily, I had the help of some friends, mentors and faculty members. Now, at 25, two years after college, I feel content and successful currently in life, despite all of my hardships," said Ryan Chen, chemical engineering alumnus. “I want to be able to give back and be that mentor for someone who may not know how to deal with certain things, struggle with the pressure to be successful and obtain prestigious internships, or not even know what they should study and get a career in."
Mentor Collective continues to be available this fall for first year and transfer students.
If you are a first-year or transfer engineering student or an engineering alumni interested in this program, click here.