The SWE Mentor Network is a private network open only to SWE members. Mentoring sessions are available for two weeks at a time, with the next cohort taking place January 18-29, 2021. Check out our full FY21 calendar here and keep an eye out for signup links in emails from SWE!
Collegiate and professional members from around the globe can sign up as a mentor, mentee, or even both! With over 400 mentors in the system and nearly 1,000 completed sessions, the platform has facilitated one-on-one connections and sparked inspiration within the SWE community. To celebrate National Mentoring Month, we spoke with a few of our mentors and mentees about their experiences and advice they have to help others in their mentoring journeys.
Mentor Asya Peña, member of the Los Angeles SWE Section, has this advice for fellow mentors: “Try to be an active listener. Ask clarifying questions and try to understand what your mentee needs.” Mentees have used the network to seek guidance on a wide range of topics, including career aspirations, advocating for oneself in the workplace, and fighting for diversity, equity, and inclusion in STEM fields.
Mentee Cassondra Petersen, a student at the Florida Institute of Technology, signed up for mentoring while preparing for job interviews. Petersen said, “Everyone was helpful and gave great insights on job hunting, negotiations, and standing up for yourself. It helped me figure out the right questions to ask during interviews and how to negotiate, besides money.” Fellow FIT student Maria Escude Paricio said her mentor “pushed me to believe in myself, in my profile, and helped me understand what my strengths are and how important it is to use them during interviews.” With guidance from her mentor, Grace Trippiedi, member of the Miami University SWE Section, was able to choose the summer internship that was the best fit for her.
Mentoring isn’t just beneficial for mentees, but has had a positive impact on mentors as well. Peña says her experience as a mentor “has introduced me to some inspirational women whose passions align with my own. This gave me a larger sense of community and a much needed boost of endurance to keep fighting for diversity, equity, and inclusion because there are other women of color out there doing the same thing.”
Mentoring has been impactful for Yareni Lara-Rodríguez of the University of Puerto Rico SWE Section as well. Lara-Rodríguez expressed, “Having the opportunity to share my grad school experience with others, specifically to women grad students, was very satisfactory. Every situation I experienced during my graduate preparation and how I overcame them, can now help others. That is very meaningful for me.”
If you’re a mentee, Peña suggests, “Research your mentor before your first meeting. Come with a list of questions ready and if you can, send them to your mentor in advance to let them prepare.” Boston SWE Section member Tess Davis, who has been both a mentor and mentee on the platform, agrees that it is important to be prepared with questions for your mentoring session and advises, “You just need a few [questions] and then the conversation flows from there.”
With close to 1,000 great conversations taking place on the SWE Mentor Network so far, we look forward to growing the platform more in 2021. Check out the 2020 year end report highlighting key metrics and success for the SWE Mentor Network here and visit our Mentoring Resources page for links to webinars, blog posts, podcasts, SWE Magazine articles, and more!
- Celebrating National Mentoring Month!
- Learn More About SWE Mentoring Programs Jan. 21 & 23
- SWE Members: Join the New SWE Mentor Network
- SWEet Wisdom: How do Mentors Make a Difference?
- SWE Stories: Tales from the Archives- Mentoring Pt. 2
- SWE Stories: Tales from the Archives- Mentoring Pt. 1
- Podcast: The Benefits of Mentorship with Cathy Meyn