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Science mentoring program receives national recognition

By Kelly Foss | May 18, 2010

ScienceM@tters, a mentoring program connecting science students and alumni, has received national recognition.

The Student Affairs and Services Association (SASA) recently announced the program as one of the 2010 recipients of its national Innovation Award. The award recognizes a new program by a member university that has a positive impact on students, staff and the campus.

ScienceM@tters is a collaboration between the Faculty of Science, Career Development and Experiential Learning and Alumni Affairs and Development at Memorial University.

“ScienceM@tters is a unique and innovative online mentoring program that is connecting science students from Memorial with Memorial science alumni around the world,” said Jennifer Browne, director of Career Development and Experiential Learning at Memorial University. “The national Student Affairs and Services Association (SASA) has recognized this program as one of the best in the country and we are thrilled it will receive the Innovation Award at the national conference in June.

“The Faculty of Science and Career Development and Experiential Learning, in partnership with Alumni Affairs and Development, are proud to create and offer such programming to science students as they explore the wonderful career and educational opportunities available upon graduation.”

Dr. Penny Blackwood, director of the Office of Alumni Affairs and Development, said she is thrilled to see science alumni taking advantage of this great new opportunity to remain involved with the university.

“We have so many alumni who look for a way to give back to Memorial and make a difference,” she said. “Alumni who share their experience and guidance can give a student that extra direction or insight he or she may need. I would imagine that the interaction with the students is very rewarding for the alumni.” 

Stephanie Hartery, science career development co-ordinator, facilitates the program and says having national recognition will help when it comes to recruiting for the program.

“When talking to students and mentors we can say this is an award winning program, and that gives us extra credibility,” she said. “Students and mentors are already responding to the program and hopefully this recognition means an increase in the number of people that are involved in the program.”

ScienceM@tters was initiated last year and Ms. Hartery has had two successful semesters so far. The program is targeted at undergraduate science students beyond first year who are contemplating the value of a science degree, seeking career direction and looking for guidance from experienced science alumni. 

“Through mentoring, students are able to connect with an individual who shares similar career interests, gain access to new information and ideas and develop a professional relationship that fosters career guidance and support,” she explained. “Mentors also benefit from participating as they are provided with the opportunity to enhance leadership skills, renew enthusiasm for their career and gain a fresh perspective and outlook on career exploration."

A key feature of the ScienceM@tters program is the use of Desire2Learn, Memorial University’s learning management system for the mentoring component. This mode of communication was chosen specifically so that the pool of mentors would not be limited to the St. John’s area.

The program also includes career development sessions devoted to developing resumes, interview skills and other job search necessities, including ways to get involved on campus during their academic career.

“We try to show them the university experience as a whole, so that the skills they are learning from their academics are complemented by their volunteer and work experience,” said Ms. Hartery. “Together this creates a lovely package so that when students have completed their degree, they’re better prepared to enter the workforce and are hopefully more successful.”

Students and alumni interested in finding out more about ScienceM@tters can contact Ms. Hartery at stephanieh@mun.ca or 737 6236.


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