Benedictine’s new mentoring program helps students to hone their career goals

February 25, 2016

Lisle, Illinois ~ Benedictine is continuing its efforts to provide students with greater career planning support into professions that best match their academic interests through the addition of the new Benedictine University Mentorship program.

Launched in fall 2015 by the Office of Alumni Development and the Career Development Center, the program leverages the University’s diverse network of more than 31,000 active alumni, who represent a wide-range of professionals at many levels of influence in health care, education, business, law, government, computing, scientific research, art and music.

The program pairs students by their major with alumni who have gone on to have successful careers or have been accepted into graduate school in a comparable field. Alumni volunteer to serve as mentors and pass on their wealth of knowledge and career experience to assist students in further identifying and pursuing their own career goals.

The student and mentor correspond through email, phone calls and face-to-face meetings or at University-sanctioned events on campus. The relationship serves as another resource students can utilize for a variety of insider tips and advice, ranging from what skills and internship experiences they should seek to acquire, how to conduct a job search in a particular field, to networking and preparing a resume.

Some mentors, such as Kathi Orlowski, who earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing at Benedictine in 1997, have also held job shadowing experiences and informational interviews to help students get a better grasp of a specific profession, its responsibilities and the credentials that they might need to obtain before seeking out similar opportunities post-graduation.

“I want to show my mentee some past work that I have done that connects well with her thoughts on pursuing a career in marketing,” said Orlowski, who today is a senior project expediter at Blue Book Services Inc. “There are a lot of options in the marketing field and I want to be able to provide my mentee with some insight on what some of those options are.”

Brett Hoskins, a medical school student at the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine at Midwestern University who earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology at Benedictine in 2013, is helping his mentee better prepare to follow a similar path.

“I hope to offer advice and give my mentee a realistic perspective on the entire process of getting into medical school,” Hoskins said. “One of the most important things about applying to medical school or surviving as a student is staying persistent.”

Connie Chester, who earned a Master of Education in 2001, is the curriculum coordinator for the Department of Learning and Teaching at Elmhurst Community School District No. 205. As a mentor, she hopes to encourage and support her mentee to be open to exploring the wide range of job opportunities that may await her.

“My experience has taught me that you never know when a door may open, and that the best thing you can do is prepare yourself to entertain ideas that may not have ever crossed your mind,” Chester said.

The Benedictine University Mentorship program will culminate near the close of the spring semester at a special dinner and recognition ceremony. But the relationships of both students and alumni are expected to continue through graduation and employment.

School officials hope to pair a second group of students and alumni mentors during the fall semester.

For more information on the Benedictine University Mentoring Program, contact Trente Arens at tarens@ben.edu or (630) 829-6077.

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Benedictine University is located in Lisle, Illinois, just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has branch campuses in Springfield, Illinois, and Mesa, Arizona. Founded as a Catholic university in 1887, Benedictine enrolls more than 5,000 students in 59 undergraduate and 23 graduate programs. Forbes magazine named Benedictine among "America's Top Colleges" for the seventh consecutive year in 2017. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (hlcommission.org). For more information, contact (630) 829-6300, admissions@ben.edu or visit ben.edu.

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