Alumni Mentoring Program offers personal and professional growth

Annalisa Holcombe, director of alumni relations, directs the Alumni Mentoring Program (AMP) at Westminster. The Alumni Mentoring Program matches students with alumni in fields the students are interested in pursuing, and many students maintain relationships with their mentors for years to come. Photos by Callie Jungemann

Annalisa Holcombe, director of alumni relations, directs the Alumni Mentoring Program (AMP) at Westminster. The Alumni Mentoring Program matches students with alumni in fields the students are interested in pursuing, and many students maintain relationships with their mentors for years to come. Photos by Callie Jungemann

The Alumni Mentoring Program (AMP) is more than the typical take-a-mentor-to-lunch event. Although the deadline for 2016 just passed, there’s a lot of information students can familiarize themselves with in order to plan ahead for next year’s application.

“The Alumni Mentoring Program is designed to foster the personal and professional growth of Westminster undergraduate students through individual mentorship with qualified alumni mentors, and peer group discussions facilitated by Westminster Alumni,” according to Westminster’s website site.

Annalisa Holcombe, director of alumni relations, said [AMP is] a whole year of a person, in whatever industry the student wants to be in, opening up the doors they can open up in order for the student to succeed. She explained that the program takes on a more personal level so students can gain more through the program.

“We’re going to talk about your life,” Holcombe said. “Often, what we do is talk about what you’re going to be when you graduate, what you’re going to do with your career, and that’s in there. That’s why we have the mentors.”

In the program, mentors have a variety of roles. They help students see all aspects of the job, including the good, the bad and the ugly, giving them information most people don’t share about a specific job position and all that comes with it.

The mentors also help students with their résumés, applications, and networking and create a long-lasting relationship so they can continue to help students down the road.

Chett Boxley is a Westminster alumna who has previously participated in two cohorts.

Previous participants of the AMP program gave Alumni Relations Director, Annalisa Holcombe, the photographs that hang outside her office in Converse Hall. Holcombe said AMP is one of the best gifts students can give to themselves.  

Previous participants of the AMP program gave Alumni Relations Director, Annalisa Holcombe, the photographs that hang outside her office in Converse Hall. Holcombe said AMP is one of the best gifts students can give to themselves.  

“I was able to help [the student] get into a graduate school program at the University of Utah post graduation,” Boxley said. “It was a genuinely fun experience that I fondly remember, and I still regularly talk with or get together with my AMP student.”

Boxley said students in AMP are exposed to companies and individuals on a personal level that would otherwise not be open to them.

“The AMP students are able to do a lot of self reflection and growth during their time in AMP,” Boxley said. “The program is challenging and a time commitment, but for those willing to rise up, the benefits will last a lifetime.”

Holcombe, director of alumni relations, said the program is one of the best gifts students can give to themselves.

“It creates that space and that time in your life to give yourself the time to think about what matters to you and who you are,” Holcombe said. “It gives you the opportunities to devise your own plans for later decision making that you don’t even know that you’re going to be making yet.”

James Steur, senior political science major, participated in AMP and currently assists Holcombe in coordinating advertising for the program.

“AMP was one of the most transformative experiences that I’ve ever had at my time at Westminster, and it challenged me to grow in ways that I don’t think I would have grown if I had just gone to class,” Steur said. “Having gone through the program, I can tell you that I’m a fundamentally different person who understands what I value and what I want, and I am more confident with myself.”

Steur encouraged students to apply to the program because he said it could help them discover parts about themselves they might not have known existed.

The application process consists of filling out a form and completing a panel interview. Selected students are then paired up with alumni, who are chosen after the students are in order to match them with the students’ interests as best as possible.

Juniors, seniors and graduate students can apply to AMP. Holcombe, director of alumni relations, said the program is a great way for non-traditional students, transfer students and commuter students to find a “home” on campus and to a place where they can get to know people.

“We talk about how to trust people, how to be vulnerable, how to prioritize,” Holcombe said. “We talk about how to walk the path that you want to walk even if other people think that it wasn’t the right choice for you, how to be brave, how to pick this one life you get and to do the things that you want to do within it.”