Over 140 U of T Engineering undergraduate students and 20 alumni attended “Leverage Mentorship in Your Career” — a special networking event aimed at drumming up excitement for the 2015-16 Alumni Mentorship Program.
The first-of-its-kind roundtable gathering took place September 17 in the Galbraith Building. Participating alumni shared their knowledge and experience and provided students with the encouragement and insights needed to get a great start to their careers and begin to set a course for the future.
“Great opportunities are made possible by connections,” said participating mentor Iyiope Jibodu (ChemE 0T9).
View a photo gallery of images from the event.
Why are you a mentor?
We asked five participating alumni about the importance of student mentorship and staying connected to your alma mater:
Shahir Daya (CompE 9T5)
I am a strong believer in mentorship. If you want to achieve a particular goal, who better to get guidance from than someone that has experienced it all before. I have been with IBM for more than 20 years and I cannot remember a time that I was without a mentor. In fact, I currently have six mentors. Every day, I stand on their broad shoulders to achieve new heights.
I am also a strong believer in giving back. I gained so much from my four years at U of T Engineering, and giving back feels like the natural thing to do. There are so many ways to give back and make a difference, but because mentoring had such a huge impact on my progress, I decided to see if I could have a similar impact on current undergraduate students. I get a lot out of my mentoring relationships — there is a lot of personal satisfaction, and mentees usually teach me a thing or two. It helps to keep me current. Education is a continuous process that never ends. In fact, a mentee from the program eight years ago is now my mentor, which is really cool!
Huda Idrees (IndE 1T3)
I found my career path as a result of listening to, and learning from, workplace professionals. I love what I do — so much so that it hardly feels like work. I’d like to offer current undergraduate students information about all the different opportunities available to them so they can find their perfect career, too.
U of T is a large part of who I am. I loved attending U of T Engineering, and if given the choice, I would do it a thousand times over. One part of staying connected is giving back to the community and school that have given me so much; the other part is the hope that I can inspire a single student to pursue their dream.
Iyiope Jibodu (ChemE 0T9)
As a young alumnus, I feel that I can still relate to students, which has a profound impact in a mentor/mentee relationship. This is important because the further removed we are from our undergraduate experiences, the less we understand what students are going through.
Human beings are social creatures, but it can be difficult to form new relationships. The shared experiences of mentors and mentees help to form new relationships.
Amir Manbachi (EngSci oT8, BioMedE MASc 1T0, PhD 1T5)
I was a mentee around 10 years ago during my undergraduate degree. It was a time when I felt lost the most. The program helped me to find myself and that’s why I’m here today to mentor someone else. Whatever success I’ve had so far is because of my mentors, and I wanted to give back to the community in some way.
Sandra Odendahl (ChemE 8T9)
I think it’s important to provide students with the benefit of real-world experience when first navigating a career. They may also benefit from advice and guidance on work/family issues from professionals in their aspired career areas. For the mentors, it’s an opportunity to both give back their time and experience, and to learn from the younger generation.
Staying involved with my alma mater is an important way to stay connected to professionals in my field, keep abreast of recent research and developments and look for ways to give back to the University.
— Jamie Hunter