UD students and mentors enjoyed the Executive Mentor Scholars Program barbecue held May 10.

EMS barbecue

UD students, executive mentors gather for end-of-year celebration


2:47 p.m., May 15, 2013--With the sun shining down, a backyard barbecue celebrating discovery learning was held on the patio of the Courtyard Newark-University of Delaware on Friday, May 10. Hosted by the Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics, the event celebrated the professional relationships developed between University students and alumni through the Executive Mentor Scholars (EMS) Program. 

The EMS program is an educational resource offered by the Lerner College that establishes mentor-student relationships by placing executives with students whose career objectives are compatible with their professional backgrounds. 

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As it neared time for the processional to open the University of Delaware Commencement ceremonies, graduating students and faculty members shared their feelings about what the event means to them.

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The students who are enrolled in the program apply during the spring semester of their sophomore year, begin their mentorship as juniors in the fall semester and end their experience at the end of their senior year.

Jill Panté, assistant director of the Lerner College satellite Career Services Center (CSC), said the program was started five years ago because the college wanted to provide students with a more hands-on resource to help them make potential career decisions. She stated that the University has excellent connections with its alumni, with many eager to become involved in the program.

“Over the past four or five years, the program has actually doubled in the number of students and mentors,” Panté said.

Panté said the EMS program is unique to Delaware and she has been told the program is often a contributing factor for students when they are deciding if they should attend UD. She said other colleges within the University are now considering adding similar programs, something she hopes to be involved with.

Paul Rollison, program director for the executive MBA program, said the EMS companion graduate student program has become popular since its addition to the program last year. He said there was a need for this program among graduate students and it has become a valuable resource for them to get a better idea of what to expect in their careers. 

“It’s really enhanced both their academic program and their career search,” Rollison said. “It’s been that nice point where they’ve been able to bring the two together without really getting involved with an internship, but having somebody there who can address some of their needs and talk about what they’re doing in the classroom and how it would fit into their organization.”

Ari Swerling, a junior management and operations management double major, said he was paired with David Etue, vice president of corporate development strategy at SafeNet, for the program. He said that his mentor and others involved in the EMS Program aid students with resume help, networking and any questions about the business world students may have.

“The coolest part is the relationship is all on you and the mentor,” Swerling said. “They pair you up, they introduce you and that’s it. It’s your job to maintain communication with them, through email, through phone, by visiting, whatever it is. Ideally, they want you to see them in person once or twice during a semester.”

Karen Tracy, senior vice president of communications at the American Pharmacists Association, said she became involved as a mentor after being approached by the UD Alumni Association. She said she and her mentee, junior Christina Brady, had a more complicated relationship than most, as Brady studied abroad in Spain during fall semester. However, she said they managed to keep up the mentor-student relationship throughout Brady’s time away. 

Despite the challenges, Tracy said she is glad she joined the program and was happy to be a mentor. She said she hopes to keep up a professional relationship with Brady after the program is over and is excited to get the chance to take a new mentee in the future. 

“I am definitely going to do this again,” Tracy said. “I actually think the mentors get more out of it than the mentees. It’s fun to learn about the new majors and what they’re involved in. As a person who’s had 30-something years in my career, the thing that I get the most reward out of is learning from others, giving guidance to others and seeing others shine.”

Although applications are now closed for the 2013-14 academic year, applications will be accepted for the 2014-15 year in the spring. For more information about the program, visit the EMS website or contact Panté by email at jgugino@udel.edu or phone at 302-831-3160. 

Article by Rachel Taylor

Photos by Lane McLaughlin

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