Amherst Magazine

Be a Mentor

By Peter Rooney

A new program links students with alumni.Outside Keefe Campus Center on Sept. 13, Edith Cricien ’14 was enrolling students in Pathways, a new mentoring program that connects alumni with students in search of career and academic advice.

Four years in the making and a collaboration between the college’s Career Center, Alumni and Parent Programs and Information Technology offices, Pathways launched in June for alumni and on Sept. 13 for students, with a kickoff ice cream social event outside Keefe Campus Center. Its aim is to foster connections between the entire alumni and student body.*

To Cricien, the democratic nature of Pathways resonates. She says low-income students can be less adept at leveraging social networks and less likely to appreciate the importance of connections: “This is a great way to make the networking process less intimidating.”

Outside Keefe Campus Center, Edith Cricien ’14 enrolls students in Pathways, a new mentoring program

Photo by Rob Mattson.

Alumni can mentor up to two students a semester. Mentors commit to speaking with mentees—online, by phone or in person—at least twice a month* for one semester.   

“While affluent students have generally had access to this type of guidance, this program helps level the playing field for lower-income students,” says Elizabeth Aries, an Amherst psychology professor who has written two books on race and class at Amherst.

Alumni can sign up by filling out a profile. Students browse profiles to choose mentors. Each selected mentor receives an email invitation to view the student’s profile. Alumni may either confirm or decline requests. Upon confirmation, students initiate the first contact.

Corrections appended: Because of editing errors, the print version of this article did not make clear that the program is open to all Amherst students, and it incorrectly stated the number of times that mentors speak to mentees each semester. This online version corrects those mistakes.