The Alumni Mentor Program is available for all TRIO students, regardless of year. Alumni and students are paired by TRIO advisors with the help of Olivia Myers, Coordinator of External Relations, based off shared interests.
“We launched this program quietly this semester with four pairs of participants and it has gone exceptionally well,” said Myers. “I was shocked by the number of alumni who wanted to be mentors this fall. There were so many, we actually had to turn them away because we didn’t have enough students interested.”
One such pair is junior business student Lindsey Johnson and Director of Operations and Technology for the Vermont Land Trust Teija Huttunen-Green (‘82). Johnson and Huttunen-Green were paired together since Johnson is interested in business and hopes to open her own outdoor camp one day.
“This mentorship program is a great opportunity to connect with someone that has graduated from Finlandia (or Suomi) and has gone out into the workforce,” said Johnson. “I love listening to all the things Teija has done. She also has some valuable advice, being she has done so many things and has held many positions. It has been very helpful in hearing what she has to say and the advice she has to offer me.”
The benefits of student-alumni mentoring are numerous including increased self-confidence for the student and enhanced job satisfaction for the mentor. For the mentors, it allows them to pay it forward by sharing their knowledge and experiences.
“Conversations with Lindsey are invigorating on a personal and professional level and I find it exciting to share some of what I’ve learned with a smart young person who has so many opportunities to launch into a personally satisfying career, doing good and being of service,” said Huttunen-Green. “We talk and text, share snippets of our lives, and we learn from each other.”
FinnU’s mentor program is structured so mentors and students communicate at a minimum of once per month for approximately an hour. Myers provides prompts that are designed to help students think introspectively, navigate their time at university and prepare for the workforce. Alumni need not be local to participate in the program; they can communicate via video messaging or phone.
“Mentors and students have discussions about goal setting, identifying strengths, resume and interview tips, and how to handle the stress of college while job searching, among other things,” said Myers. “The mentor provides another support system and a fresh set of eyes to any challenges the student may face while at school, which can help with retention.”
Interested students should contact their TRIO advisor. Interested alumni can begin by filling out the form below or by reaching out to Olivia Myers at firstname.lastname@example.org, Alumni Mentor Program, Alumni Relations, Lindsey Johnson, Olivia Myers, student affairs, Teija Huttunen-Green, TRIO SSS, Trio Stu