Nelson alumni give back: Mentorship opportunities in CESP Program
November 21, 2017
Nearly 50 Nelson alumni, environmental professionals, and University of Wisconsin-Madison students participated in a “Speed Mentoring” event in October. While the event was open to all UW students, there was a focus on students enrolled in the Community Environmental Scholarship Program (CESP).
CESP program managers Cathy Middlecamp, professor in Environmental Studies, and Robert Beattie, faculty associate work with students who want to explore both environmentally sustainable pathways and engage with their local communities. The program offers opportunities for students to build partnerships with environmental organizations, volunteer on campus and with the local community, and receive professional development training—like attending the Speed Mentoring event.
Prior to the event, Middlecamp and Beattie had students prepare ‘elevator pitches,’ a condensed one-minute explanation of their personal interests, career aspirations and past experiences. The elevator pitches were a means for students to start conversations with professionals and explain who they are and what they aspire to become.
Following the event, students reported being more comfortable networking with professionals and communicating their academic and career goals. Many also said they were excited to attend another event with more professionals and alumni from an even broader spectrum of career fields.
The event wasn’t just a learning experience for undergraduates. Mentorship often works best when both parties are able to learn from each other. Mentors were impressed with the student’s passion, energy and preparation.
“It is fun to learn more about student interests and it helps my work to see the range of perspectives undergrads have about the environment and the different academic and professional goals they want to achieve,” one mentor said.
“The students were very well-spoken,” said another. “[The event] was very impressive and to hear all their interests, aspirations, and how optimistic they were was very uplifting.”
We extend thanks to the alumni who took time to give back to the Nelson Community and look forward to partnering in the future.