Role of the Alumni Mentor
We hope that the externship will prove to be a rewarding experience for our students and you. Please let us know how we can assist in making the externship a meaningful experience for both you and the student.
Listed below are some specific recommendations on how to use your time together.
Prior to the Externship:
Clarify what is expected of the Extern with respect to dress and confidentiality of certain information.
Time with You:
- Give the Extern a tour of the office and introduce him/her to the people with whom he/she will be working.
- Explain the mission, goals, functions, services and procedures of your organization/agency as well as your department and its relationship to the larger organization or profession.
- Share your story as a Grinnell alum. What was your Grinnell experience like? How did you pick your major, classes, campus involvement, internships, research, etc.? What has your career path been since you left Grinnell? What/who has helped you along the way? What are some things that you are glad you did and wish you would’ve done?
- Discuss the field/industry and how a student can start gaining experience and one day find a job in this field.
- Explain to the Extern how you make decisions—what the alternatives are and how you arrive at conclusions.
- Discuss with the Extern the specific duties and projects on which he/she will be working and explain how these projects fit into the larger picture and goals of your organization/agency.
Throughout the externship, meet regularly with the Extern to discuss his/her work and learning and any new questions.
Time with Colleagues:
- Set up several 20-45mins time frames for the student to do informational interviews with those in different positions to discuss their career path, how a college student can gain experience in this field, how someone pursues this career after graduation, etc.
Ensure that extern has time to discuss similar things with entry level employees.
Time with Leadership:
Set up a 20-45mins time frames for the student to do informational interviews with those in leadership, to discuss their career path, how a college student can gain experience in this field, how someone pursues this career after graduation, the bigger picture of the office and mission/vision, etc.
Time with Materials:
- Share with the Extern the job descriptions of co-workers and an organizational chart for the organization/agency if appropriate.
Introduce the Extern to brochures, manuals, reports, and/or journals pertinent to the organization/agency and to the field.
Time to Observe:
- Give the Extern an opportunity to attend staff, committee, public or legislative meetings.
- Sit in with clients meetings (when applicable)