A new mentoring program is giving Fordham students a jumpstart on their careers by pairing them with recent graduates. The Young Alumni Mentoring program, offered by the Career Planning and Placement (CP&P) Office, pairs freshmen and sophomores from Fordham’s three campuses with young professionals who will help them explore possible career interests and provide a window into the lives of recent college graduates just starting their careers.
“Providing this kind of support now can only help students flourish later,” said Elizabeth Cappelluti, assistant director and coordinator of special programs for CP&P. “It also further establishes the career planning office as a resource, so these students will be ahead of the game when it comes time to look for a job.”
Fordham sophomore Regina Gonzalez met her alumni mentor Rachel Grygorczewicz, a recent Fordham graduate who works at the New-York Historical Society.
Photo: Ken Levinson
The program was the brainchild of Charlie O’Donnell, a 2001 graduate of Fordham’s College of Business Administration, who had participated in a similar program through the New York Society of Security Analysts. Having maintained contact with staff members in CP&P, he approached them with the idea and the program was born.
“We have such a range of students at Fordham,” he said. “Actors, computer science majors, people interested in history, journalism, biology. Even the best career guidance professional in the world can’t have the knowledge to advise students in all those different areas,” said O’Donnell, an investment analyst for the General Motors pension fund’s private equity group. And Fordham, he added, has thousands of alumni with real-world industry experience.
O’Donnell recruited mentors from his network of alumni friends, and CP&P recruited students, who filled out applications indicating their goals and areas of interest. The response was overwhelming—52 student-mentor pairs were formed.
At a Feb. 4 kickoff program cosponsored by the Office of Alumni Relations, students met their mentors. Regina Gonzalez, a Fordham College at Lincoln Center sophomore, was paired with Rachel Grygorczewicz, a 2002 Fordham College at Rose Hill graduate who had majored in art history and now works at the New-York Historical Society.
“It was a perfect match,” said Gonzalez. “That day, I had just begun the process of declaring a double major in art history and visual arts. And so when I met my mentor and we had so much in common, it felt like a sign that I was making the right decision.”
Cappelluti, who collaborated with CP&P colleagues from Lincoln Center and Marymount on the mentoring program, said that one of their goals going forward is to work more with alumni relations to recruit additional mentors.
“This allows our alumni to stay connected with Fordham, to give back,” she said. “The alumni were expressing an interest in doing something to help current students, so this is a great opportunity for them.”
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