The mentors of the Communications Honors Alumni Program (CHAMP) work with students to make sure they foster connections and make the most of their college experience.
Paul Ward, who graduated from Seton Hall in 1986, created the program 10 years ago, when the College of Communication and the Arts was still part of the College of Arts and Sciences. With the combined efforts of Ward and the Career Center, they were able to bring alumni in to become mentors to students in the College of Communication and the Arts.
“CHAMP is about helping students prepare for life after Seton Hall,” Ward said. “By pairing successful alumni with current students, participants get incredible advice about the best ways to pursue career opportunities in a variety of professions including communications, marketing, theater, graphic design and several others.”
All the students who participated in this program seem to agree that it is a valuable opportunity for students in communications.
“You get to build a relationship with your mentor who has so much knowledge, which can lead to further networking with other professionals,” said Brittannia Gordon, a senior public relations major. “Your mentor helps you develop a strong resume and cover letter. And overall, they are there to help you with anything.”
Gianna Barone, a junior journalism major, said that participating in this program creates a rich support network for students.
“I was really eager to participate in it,” she said. “And I feel that anyone in the Communications school can benefit from it. [CHAMP] gets you prepared for meeting others in your field after graduation and that, to me, was invaluable.”
Students can opt to apply online or stop by the Career Center. Applications are due Oct. 22 and students who are selected for the program will be notified in November for participation in the spring semester. There are 25 spots open to students.
Ward said that interest in the program is rapidly in terms of potential mentors.
“Several [alumni mentors] have volunteered for the program since we launched and each year, new mentors are added as the great reputation of the program spreads,” Ward said. “All of the mentors are generous with their time and grateful for the opportunity to reengage with Seton Hall.”
CHAMP counts as a one-credit course, so there is work involved besides just talking to mentors. Students must meet with their mentors four times in-person and other meetings can be on the phone or via Skype, allowing them to connect. Much of the written work is based off reflections that stem from these meetings.
“My mentor last year lived in California, so we talked over Skype for our meetings,” said Sarah Auerbach, a junior public relations major. “We finally met in person at the end of the year celebration. After each meeting, students must write a short report of what was discussed, and comment on the Blackboard discussions.”
Reesa Greenwald, director of the Career Center, stressed how important it is for students to take advantage of this opportunity.
“This is a unique opportunity not offered by most colleges, and is a source of considerable pride for the University, The Career Center, and the College of Communication and the Arts,” Greenwald said. “The most important thing students need to realize is that they aren’t going to have this opportunity again. These are high level people who you’re creating a connection with for a semester.”
Kiah Conway can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.