Mentoring Program To Conclude Year with Virtual EventThe Mentoring Program's year-end program is available to all students, faculty, staff and alumni and will focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Posted on April 26th, 2021 by

Center for Career Development Executive Director Andrew Coston met with a Gustavus student before COVID-19 changed how the office operates.

The Gustavus Adolphus College Mentoring Program is closing out another year of successful networking and career guidance with a virtual closing banquet from 6-7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 27, 2021. The banquet will celebrate the mentorships fostered throughout the year and feature keynote speaker Dr. Ashanti Johnson. Johnson is one of the first African American female chemical oceanographers and a celebrated speaker and author.

“Dr. Johnson was chosen as our closing banquet speaker because of her background in mentoring those early in their professional journey. She is an expert in inclusion and diversity in the STEM field, career and academic strategies for students, and other fields of study including leadership. Her wisdom and intelligence will be sure to provide beneficial insight to everyone in attendance,” Co-President of the Mentoring Program Student Leadership Team Elsa Beise ’21 said.

Dr. Ashanti Johnson

Unlike banquets of years past, which were only for mentoring program participants, this one will be open to everyone in the Gustavus community. The decision to invite Dr. Johnson as the keynote and open the event to the entire community are examples of how Gustavus is seeking to infuse diversity, equity, and inclusion education throughout the College’s curricular and co-curricular offerings.

“Since the event this year is virtual, the event is open to all Gustavus students, alumni, faculty and staff. The Mentoring Leadership Team and I wanted to open it up to the entire Gustavus community, as we feel this will help promote a more inclusive and open program to all Gusties,” Julie Rudolf, Mentoring and Internships Specialist and Advisor to the Student Leadership Team, said.

The leadership team is also hoping having a more open event will help introduce the program to students and alumni who may be interested in joining next year. However, they also noted that community engagement has not dropped due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I feel we were very fortunate as our program was already established on an online platform. We have also seen alumni who do not live in the area feel like they are on a more even playing field because distance and a person’s physical location are no longer seen as a barrier to being in the program and being able to connect with students,” Rudolf said.

Despite fears that all-online events would decrease attendance, the team found that was not the case.

“Although our events have been online due to the Coronavirus pandemic, we have still been able to host helpful and educational events. My personal favorite was our diversity panel where multiple professionals shared how mentoring has helped them navigate the world and any hardships or bias they had endured. The information they shared and personal experiences told hopefully helped all who attended to learn about perspectives different from their own,” Beise said.

For Paige Patterson ’21, the other Co-President of the Student Leadership team, utilizing online platforms has allowed her to connect with a mentor who lives hundreds of miles away.

“The integration of Zoom and other online platforms into normal life has really opened up the possibilities to talk with Gusties across the country and the globe. This has been the case within my own Mentorship relationship, as my mentor works in Washington, D.C. He has given me fantastic insight into the realm of political science and government work, and more importantly, our relationship was not hindered but enhanced by the ability to connect virtually,” Patterson said. 

Patterson noted that her involvement in the Mentoring Program will not end when she graduates.

“Overall within the last three years, I have had fantastic mentors that have really guided my actions while in college and my outlook for the early years of my career. I couldn’t be more grateful to have utilized this fantastic program at Gustavus and I am so excited to help Gusties as I myself soon become an alumna,” Patterson said.

Visit the Gustavus calendar listing to register and receive a Zoom link to Tuesday’s lecture.


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication Luc Hatlestad


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