Alumni give back to students through new career mentoring initiative

April 30, 2009

GCC alumni have a new way to connect with current GCC Students through the Career Alumni Mentoring Program (CAMP). CAMP, a collaborative project of the GCC Alumni Association and the GCC Career Center, provides students with an opportunity to get guidance and information from alumni in their field of interest.

There are many ways alumni may participate in the program, including having informal conversations with students as well as by providing opportunities for students to shadow them in the workplace or participate in short- or long-term internships.

Judy Raper, Associate Dean of Student Affairs, says, “GCC students are interested in a wide range of careers, from criminal justice and engineering to nursing and outdoor leadership, and more. As they choose majors and consider potential careers, they seek practical information about what it means to work in a particular field. The real-life work experiences of alumni area great resource for students.”

Because CAMP is located on Alumnet, a social networking site for GCC alumni, it speaks a language familiar to current students and is convenient for busy students and alumni. Geography isn’t a barrier to participating in CAMP. Whether they’re across town or across the country, GCC alumni can share their experiences with current students through email and phone conversations.

Regina Curtis ‘86, Director of Development at GCC and President of the GCC Alumni Association, says, “We’re thrilled with the early response to our request for alumni to serve as mentors to GCC students. We would love to have hundreds of mentors so that every student could find someone in whatever field they’d like to explore. It’s a wonderful way for us to give back to the college that did so much for us.”

Craig Sandler graduated from GCC in 1985, got a degree in journalism from UMASS in 1987, and has covered state politics in several different jobs. now owner of The State House news Service in Boston, Craig says, “I’m interested in being a mentor because the mentor program is exactly about GCC’s best qualities: the learning is useful and hands-on and down-to-earth and the spirit is friendly. That’s just what a mentoring program is supposed to be. I’ve taught journalism courses at northeastern University and that’s a very practical setting, too – the students all have to do internships as a condition of graduation, and that makes the environment strongly grounded in real-world skill building. I love talking about theory, but especially in journalism it’s much more important – and fun – to deal with real cases and real problems. I’m looking forward to doing that with GCC students. It’s weird to be the grizzled veteran, of course – sometimes I feel like I got my Associate’s in the Hoover administration – but rewarding, too!”

Interested in the opportunity to provide a potentially life-transforming experience for a GCC student? Contact Regina Curtis at 413-775-1426 or curtisr@gcc.mass.edu, or visit http://alumninetwork.gcc.mass.edu/group/careeralumninetworkprogramcamp