2017-2018 Mentoring Program off to a Rousing Start: Year 15 of an STC Benchmark Program

By: Emily Wells
Staff Writer,
Memo to Members
Co-Manager, Student Mentoring Program

It’s that time of the year again. The weather’s getting cooler, decorations are going up, and the student mentoring program between the Orlando Central Florida (OCF) Chapter of STC  and the Future Technical Communicators (FTC) organization at the University of Central Florida has kicked off for the 15th year in a row!

 

During the 2017-2018 academic year, 12 UCF students will benefit from the experience and coaching of 10 professionals from the OCF Chapter (see box).

Achieving this major milestone and 15 years of success would not have been possible without the support of FTC faculty advisor Dr. J.D. Applen, a legacy of outstanding FTC presidents, an experienced cadre of OCF Chapter members who have volunteered as mentors year after year, and new mentors who have joined the program over the past 3 years.

Last year alone we had a record-breaking 16 pairings, which led to a number of achievements, including numerous articles for MtM and Intercom, engaging portfolios pieces, and jobs for two of our mentees. This just goes to show how true “FTC and STC – Better Together” is. This slogan perfectly describes the mentoring program, since when we work together, we achieve so much. For more on the history of the mentoring program, see this article written by Terra Jarvis for the December 2013 edition of Memo to Members.

On top of the achievements of 137 mentor/mentee pairs over its 15-year history, the mentoring program has been a model for other STC communities internationally. Former mentee Bethany Aguad and her mentor Dan Voss conducted workshops on student mentoring programs at Leadership Day at the 59th and 60th STC International Summit conferences in 2012 and 2013 and at the 40th annual conference of the Council for Programs in Technical and Scientific Communication in 2012. In 2013, they submitted a paper, “STC Student Mentoring Programs: Invest in the Future,” for the 15th India STC Conference that was published in Indus, the India Chapter newsletter.

In addition, Bethany and Rachel Houghton of the Willamette Valley STC Chapter co-presented on student mentoring at the International Conference of Sigma Tau Delta in 2013.

Although the mentoring program was unable to start on time this year due to a certain “Irma-geddon,” the program co-managers Dan Voss and myself were undaunted. We worked long hours to schedule an FTC interest meeting, to line up mentors and mentees, and to analyze their applications to ensure optimum pairings of mentors and mentees based on multiple criteria. Our foremost priority was to match mentors’ areas of expertise with mentees’ areas of interest.

All of the hard work paid off, as we had 12 pairings this year, including 2 repeat pairings from last year. We also had two successful group kickoff meetings, along with two 1-on-1 “mini-kickoffs” between mentors and mentees who could not both make either one of the kickoff meetings. And for a third consecutive year, all mentors and mentees made the meetings.

Now that the pairings have met and started planning, we look forward to another successful year in the mentoring program. In fact, here are some of the activities being planned already. The photos were taken at the two kick-off meetings at the IHOP on University Boulevard.

OCF Immediate Past President Debra Johnson (left) plans to give her mentee Carolynn Torres some hands-on experience to prepare her for the business world. Photo by Emily Wells.

Eve Brinson will benefit from mentor David Coe’s coding expertise to write an operator manual in XML per military standards. Photo by W.C. Wiese.

Mentor Rachael Swertfeger (left) plans on helping her mentee Morgan Rickey create a portfolio and write an article for Memo to Members. Photo by W.C. Wiese.

The writer (left) and FTC President Andi Romero discuss job placement with their mentor, Dan Voss. Dan and I will focus on job placement this fall, and Andi and Dan plan to co-author an article for STC’s intercom in the spring. Photo by W.C. Wiese.

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