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Alumni give back to help students move forward

By Liz McGovern

Dr. Michael Martin and Renae DeLucia during her visit to the Atlanta VA Medical Center.

A little guidance goes a long way.

Marquette's alumni mentorship program is giving grads a chance to reconnect with the university, but, more important, it's helping them build relationships with students. The program has successfully matched almost 35 students and alumni pairs in the past year, with participants in the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Communication and Engineering.

Mentorship matches are based on students' career goals and where they hope to live after graduation. Many mentors live in Milwaukee and Chicago, but long-distance matches give students unique opportunities to extend their professional reach beyond the Midwest.

Renae DeLucia, a junior in the Helen Way Klingler College of Arts and Sciences, is paired with Dr. Michael Martin, Arts '93, a psychologist who works at the Atlanta VA Medical Center. She joined the mentorship program to seek advice about grad school and discuss different job opportunities in the psychology field.

DeLucia and Martin primarily connect through Skype and the phone. But they had the chance to meet in person over spring break when she flew to Atlanta to shadow him at the VA and meet other psychologists.

"Part of the reason this mentorship is so successful is because of Dr. Martin's generosity. I'm so grateful that he took time out of his busy schedule to show me the VA," DeLucia says.  

And it's not just mentees who find the experience rewarding. Mentors are invested in the program because they think the relationships encourage personal and professional growth. Mentor Joe Miotke, Eng '95, Law '99, says the program shows students more job opportunities in Milwaukee than they may be aware of. Mentoring creates larger professional networks and strengthens the workforce. Plus, he adds, it's fun.

"Alumni will be surprised to see how fun it is to get plugged right back in to the undergrad community and see how amazing Marquette is now," he says.

Mentor Matt Wisla, Comm '83, decided to join the program because he was impressed with Marquette's commitment to the communication field.

"I was really intrigued by so much professional work going on at Marquette, and I wanted to contribute to the industry as it grows professionally," he says. "Communication as a profession is going through a lot of changes. I thought this was a good time to participate."

Wisla has helped his mentee, Megan Hickey, a junior in the Diederich College of Communication, apply for internships. In the past, he has invited her to business conferences, and they attended a Public Relations Society of America event and a luncheon for business journalists.

What's the best piece of advice for someone who wants to be a mentor? Wisla says it's listening.

"You have to pay attention to the idea behind the questions and see the challenges the student is facing," Wisla says.

Want to get involved? Marquette is always looking for interested mentors. Click here to register.


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