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New Professional Mentoring Program Established

Up until recently, most of the professional advising and mentoring MABE students received came from faculty. That changed this fall with the establishment of the Professional Mentoring Program.

The new program connects students with a practicing engineer who acts as a professional mentor. The mentors are from all over the country, and meet with students either in person, via skype, or on the phone to establish a relationship, and offer career advice.

The initial group participating in the program is made up of twelve students and ten external mentors.

“We have such a tremendous group of alumni who truly love our school and program,” MABE Department Head Matthew Mench said. “This is a way for them to give back in a very meaningful way, connect with the students, and help them prepare for professional careers. In some cases the relationship has already enabled a connection that has resulted in an opportunity the student would not otherwise have.”

Some mentors are already exploring ways to help the students beyond meetings and providing career advice, such as providing summer internship and co-op opportunities or teaming up to work on a senior design project.

“We are impressed with the vision to develop such a program for MABE,” said Mike Wilder, Professional Mentor. “In the end, both MABE and the industries will benefit from this program.”

Sam Dougherty, a member of the MABE External Board of Advisors and Professional Mentoring Program Chair, provided feedback from the current mentors. “We are enjoying the experience talking with our student,” Dougherty said. “Each of us have said we look forward to making face-to-face contacts on campus soon. We have been discussing general career paths and a variety of engineering topics. We are not following specific or rigid schedules, and the students are guiding the topics.”

Mench hopes to identify more alumni willing to be mentors and expand the opportunity to all junior and senior level students in the future.

If you have professional experience as an engineer and you are interested in being a professional mentor to one of our students, please email Matthew Mench at mabementor@utk.edu.

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