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Political Science Mentorship Program

 

Our Department has approximately 5,000 living alumni, many of whom retain ties and connections to the Department. Several of our alumni have helped to arrange career and internship opportunities for our current students. Hundreds support the Department’s undergraduate programs through cash gifts, which fund various enrichment opportunities for our students (study abroad, internships, and research expenses). Many others have agreed to lend an ear and provide advice to current students, by participating in the Alumni Mentorship and Advising Program.

The goal of the political science mentorship program is to connect alumni of the Political Science department with current undergraduate students in a mutually beneficial way, aiming at helping students get a head start on their future careers.  Alumni involved in the program agree to lend an ear and provide advice to current students, to discuss career and educational paths, to discuss the nature of today’s workplace, and to discuss the practical skills students need for success.  Students and mentors must apply to the program.  Once accepted, the student will be assigned to an alumni mentor, and the student and mentor will get in touch and begin discussions, with suggested starting points and resources provided by the department.  The program is targeted at sophomores and juniors, but will include other students if space is available.

For Alumni Mentors

Alumni may register for the mentorship program by sending a resume to the department (hard copy or email) along with any additional information that would be helpful to pair up the alumnus with appropriate students.  Alumni mentors will initially be matched to 1 or 2 mentees, and will be sent the students’ resume and application material.  Within one month of being matched, the mentor should contact the student mentee to begin discussions.  We expect that mentors will be matched for a year with the mentee, but the mentor and mentee may continue their relationship beyond this time frame if they wish.  We hope mentors will talk several times a semester (at least 4 to 6 times annually).
Discussions between mentors and mentees may take several forms.  We expect that mentors and mentees will speak on the phone or by Skype (perhaps after an initial email to set a time to talk).  Initial discussion can focus on what the student feels he or she needs out the relationship, and might lay out a contact plan.  Mentors should then feel free to allow discussions and interactions to evolve in any direction that is mutually useful to them and the student.  Some possible ideas to shape initial and subsequent mentoring include:
Review resume;
Discuss long-term career interests;
Discuss phone/personal skills for interviewing;  conduct a mock interview, practice interview skills;
Discuss need for professional/graduate school;
Arrange job-shadowing day and meeting colleagues;
Discuss current work issues, ethical matters, industry trends.
If the mentor is visiting State College, we encourage the mentor to meet with their mentee(s). And if the mentee will be in or near the mentor’s home city, we encourage an off campus meeting as well.

Procedures

1. The department will invite alumni to serve as mentors. Interested alumni may reach out to the program coordinator (Aimée Grugan)
2. Students apply to the program, with an application and resume sent to the program coordinator (Angela Hill).
3. Students will be selected by the program coordinator, departmental advisors, and members of the faculty appointed by the Director of Undergraduate Studies and Department Head.
4. Contact information will be sent to the mentor and the student.  The mentor will receive the student’s resume and application, and the student will receive the mentor’s resume.  Both the mentor and mentee will be sent the “Mentorship Agreement,” which must be signed by both and returned to the program coordinator.
5. Students will be paired with an alumni mentor by the program coordinator in consultation with departmental advisors and members of the faculty.
6. Student and mentor will make contact, speak on the phone or by Skype, and begin discussions.
7. Students and mentors will be contacted by the program coordinator to ensure that successful contact was made, and to obtain feedback.

Program Coordinators

Angela Hill, Undergraduate Program Staff Assistant
amr25@psu.edu
814-865-4597
Aimée Grugan, Administrative Support Department Head Assistant
arp20@psu.edu
814-863-1449

Click on the links below to see a sample of participating Penn State Political Science alumni in the following sectors :

Note that the alumni lists within each sector are arranged in alphabetical order by first name.

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