The Student News Site of Averett University

The Chanticleer

The Student News Site of Averett University

The Chanticleer

The Student News Site of Averett University

The Chanticleer

Cougars For Cougars, A Student-Alumni Mentorship Opportunity

Jennifer Penland
Marquis Broadwater visits Ja’Ciyah Fuller’s IDS 110 class

This semester Averett University started a new program, Cougars taking care of Cougars. It is an Alumni Mentoring Program designed to bring together alumni, recent graduates and current students in purposeful and rewarding relationships to help bridge the gap between classroom and the professional world. The program was created by Joel Nester, the Director of Alumni and Constituent Relations, and is now assisted by Jennifer Penland, the new Director of Career services. 

Nester always had aspirations of starting a program like the Averett Alumni Mentoring Program, to help students set up a career for life after college. When Penland came to Averett she brought in a lot of experience with her from forming universities she had worked at.

“When Angie McAdams left, there was a huge gap to fill,” Nester said. “This put the launch of the Alumni Program kind of on hold. However when Penland joined us over the summer, I proposed the idea of this program to her and she mentioned that she had experience with sort like programs at her previous institutions. After that we immediately started working on turning this concept into a reality.”

The Alumni Mentoring Program will pair established alumni from different fields with recent graduates or current students, from freshmen to seniors. The program will offer students personal advising, networking opportunities and will help prepare them for their career after college. However, Nester wants this program to benefit not just the students but also the alumni participating.

“This program will not only help students with building their network and preparing them for their career post-graduation,” Nester said. “It will also create an opportunity for the alumni to stay engaged and give back to Averett.

On the Averett website there is a page for the Alumni Mentorship Program where alumni can apply to be a mentor, and students can apply to become a mentee. After applying, mentors and mentees will be connected with each other based on their field of interest. Mentors will meet regularly with their mentees either in-person or virtually, and cover a variety of topics based on their interests and needs. Nester explained how the program is currently still in its early stages, but he would like to see it grow over time.

“The program is currently in its pilot phase,” Nester said. “I would love for this program to grow to a point where we can give every student the opportunity to be mentored by someone in their field. I want this program to become something that represents Averett to the point where it becomes a selling point for the admissions office and attracts future students. At the moment I have 8 alumni who said that they would like to be a mentor, there are also some students already paired up with a mentor. The goal is to have 100 up to 200 alumni.”

One of the first students who signed up for the Alumni Mentorship Program is Jaciyah Fuller. He is a freshman at Averett, and is interested in the field of Computer Science. His mentor is Marquis Broadwater, an alumni who graduated from Averett in 2016. He graduated from Averett with a bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems and currently works as a Global Program Manager for Microsoft. 

“I chose to be mentored by Mr. Broadwater after he introduced himself during a class,” Fuller said. “I wanted him to be my mentor because I could tell that he is a very intelligent man, and a person that would direct me in the right direction for my career choice as he is someone with experience in this field.”

Nester looks forward to seeing this program grow as he believes it truly is something that represents what Averett stands for.

“At Averett we always talk about how we are a family,” Nester said. “Graduates are just as much part of our family as current students are. This program can really show current students how big and impactful the Averett family can be for the rest of their lives.”

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About the Contributor
Lisanne Guiaux
Lisanne Guiaux is a sophomore, international student coming from Rotterdam, The Netherlands. She is majoring in sports communication studies with a minor in English. She is also a part of Averett University’s Women’s soccer and lacrosse teams. Lisanne's dream is to be able to travel around the world for a living or work in the sports industry.