The CommArts Honor Alumni Mentor Partners (CHAMP) is a mentoring program within the College of Communication and the Arts and the Career Center that works to prepare students for their chosen field by pairing them with Seton Hall alumni. This year, the program is celebrating its 10th anniversary.
Reesa Greenwald, director of the Career Center, said “it is a highly prestigious mentor program that is offered at Seton Hall.”
Students apply to the program, and if they are accepted they are paired with a mentor. The students meet with their mentors multiple times throughout the semester and learn how to be successful in their field. Often, students meet their mentors at their place of work and can see firsthand how they manage their job.
The program was founded by Seton Hall alum Paul Ward. Ward said he had a desire to give back to the community and committed himself to research how he could make that possible.
“I wanted to create an opportunity to engage older alumni to the benefit of the current students, and we came up with the CHAMP mentoring program,” Ward said.
Ward, the Career Center and the College of Communication and Arts collaborated and worked to create a program that connected students with alumni who have succeeded in their careers.
“The purpose of the program is to complement a student’s education with professional advice from someone who walked in their shoes years ago,” Ward said.
Ward said he believes the program will help make students better alumni in the future. He added that he wants the students to remember their experience in CHAMP and want to do the same for others.
The application process starts in the fall semester. First, the program reaches out to eligible students. They also gather alumni to visit classes and discuss the program in detail. Students, if interested, can apply online and hear back about their acceptance before the spring semester. Then, 30 students are paired with their mentors and begin to meet with them.
“At the end, we have a wrapup,” Greenwald said. “Students have the opportunity to stand up in front of the high-level executives and give their elevator pitch.”
This year’s wrap-up will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the program. Anyone who has ever been involved in the program is invited to attend.
Greenwald said a small challenge the program faces is having a mentor who is very high-up in his or her career and travels for work or someone who lives in another part of the country. However, that problem is solved with telephone and Skype sessions.
Mariana Delacqua, a junior public relations major, is in the CHAMP program and said she especially likes the mentorship and finds her mentor, Martin DeBenedetto, to be very helpful. However, one thing she would change about the program is the way it pairs its students and mentors.
“Although Martin is great, he is involved in the pharmaceutical business, and that is not something that I initially envisioned myself doing,” Delacqua said.
Despite Martin’s different experiences than Delacqua, he has connections to public relations and still gives good advice to Delacqua regarding her career, she said. She recommends the program to anyone who is thinking about a future in communications.
Rebecca Amrick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.