Mentorship Program: Students stay connected through global internship

Written by: 
Jennifer Herrera~Multimedia Journalist
internship, byuh, mentorship program, kealakai, ke alakai

To help BYU-Hawaii students fulfill the university’s mission in building leaders around the world, the Alumni Association Office is ready to help students network with over 30,000 alumni mentors around the world.

‘Get informed, Get connected, Get involved’ is the motto of the BYU-Hawaii student Alumni association. “We travel around the world…and alumni get involved by helping us recruit students and by becoming mentors to students to help them find their desired job. The most beneficial things about this program is students get the chance to network with someone who works in their desired field and even the location they hope to go into when they graduate. The mentor program has been really successful and a great way to network,” said Corbin Thomander, the alumni relations manager of Alumni Services.

Jarvis Yau, a senior and business major from Hong Kong, said, “The alumni office first asked for my future career plan. I told them I planned to go to law school so they hooked me up with Jerry, who’s now an attorney in the Bay Area. We talked on the phone for a little more than an hour, giving me advice in what I should consider before I launch myself into the legal field. He also gave me invaluable opinions on choosing a law school to attend, and also the differences between studying in the U.S. and in Hong Kong . . . We kept in touch. Now my application cycle is over and I got accepted to law school. Jerry has been great help to me during the entire process.”

The mentorship program does not guarantee a job or a job offer of any kind, but students are getting hired through the program. “One of the surprising things about the mentor program is the percentage of students that are actually getting job offers. We have over 100 students participating so far and about 17 percent of them have received job offers. That’s actually very successful,” said Thomander.

The great incentive about the program is you can join it more than once. “If maybe they get a mentor the first time and it doesn’t result in a job offer, then maybe the next mentor will. We encourage students to not ask directly to their mentor for a job, we just ask students to be specific with them about their desires and goals our mentors are willing to help. Every semester we connect our alumni network with a graduating student . . . to help them find jobs in their home countries. That is something brand new we are working on now,” said Thomander.

Chizuru Bennison, a BYUH employee from Japan and an office supervisor and a professional mentorship program coordinator, said, “I give students an orientation to help the students act professionally with their mentors and helps them give them a boost. We created a worksheet to help students ask the right questions and what things they should [and] you shouldn’t say. We encourage students to build a relationship with their mentors.”

“Every semester we have a Professional Mentorship Program Kick-Off Event, and this semester we had Marc De Schweinitzs, a BYU-Hawaii graduate and an Account Executive for Google, be our guest speaker,” said Bennison.

“We had an online meeting with [Schweinitzs] and about 40 students showed up. He graduated from BYUH and went to BYU in Provo for his master’s degree in business and now he is in Michigan working for Google. He is in a position he really likes and has had a great career so far,” said Thomander.

According to Thomander, guest speakers help students see the realities of real world experience and are highly motivated in mentoring students.

Students can apply at alumni.byuh.edu to get matched up with a mentor.