The Alumni Mentoring Program (AMP) connects Westminster College students with alumni to advise and mentor students for their future careers and life situations.
Annalisa Holcombe, founder of AMP, said the program lasts an academic year. The program encourages mentors to review their mentee's resume, help with graduate school applications, network and offer hands-on experiences.
"We ask them to work through networking," Holcombe said. "How do you know who you know in jobs you want to do and the career field you want to be in? What are the best ways to do that? How do you talk to people? We actually have our mentors either take them to events or introduce them to their network—take them to lunch with other people that do similar things [or] whatever they need to do to help them to figure out what they want to do."
Gabi Sanchez, a sophomore international business major, joined AMP at the beginning of 2016/17 academic year. The program paired her with Princess Gutierrez, an alumni who works at Guadalupe School. Gutierrez is a development officer for Guadalupe, where she works to get grants and donations that will help the school's underrepresented students.
“My relationship with my mentor is really great," Sanchez said. "Right off the bat, we were able to connect on a lot of different levels because she has had different experiences in different fields aside from what she does now. She was able to shed a lot of light on those fields to me, but also we just connect on a cultural level and personalities really align between the two of us.”
AMP is designed to help students and alumni connect professionally and personally—something Sanchez said she has experienced with Gutierrez.
“We were discussing recent events that are happening post-election, [and] we were able to open up and connect in regards to how we both feel about the election because we're both Latina and Hispanic women,” Sanchez said. “Being able to connect with her about that—feeling like I can have an open and honest conversation with someone about that—it was great.”
Sanchez and Gutierrez usually meet once a month. They have typical mentor meetings where they look through Sanchez’s resume and cover letter or work on internship applications. They also have atypical meetings, like visiting the University of Utah Law School.
“I’m interested in going into law, but I’m not 100 percent sure that’s what I wanted to do, so a big part of what I wanted to get out of AMP is just being able to learn about it and see if I can get any different perspective,” Sanchez said.
Knowing Sanchez’s interest in law school, Gutierrez organized the trip to explore the option together.
“Gabi is interested in going to law school at one point, and I was interested in that when I went to school to begin with,” Gutierrez said. “I didn’t end up going that way, but I took the LSAT and did all that. At one point, I was interested in the same things that she is interested in now.”
Gutierrez has also connected Sanchez with personal connections that could help her with her future career path.
“My mentor has worked in a lot of law offices," Sanchez said. "She didn’t go to law school, but she had a friend who recently graduated from law school and she was able to set up a meeting with me and her and her friend, and that was a really great career-building opportunity for me.”