Public health major Rebecca Walmer '12 with her mentor Kathie Westpheling '71.
Research from the American Society of Training & Development shows that 75% of executives point to mentoring as playing a key role in their careers. But how does one find the right mentor and gain professional exposure?
The Simmons Success Connection Program is a unique job-shadowing and mentoring opportunity that matches current seniors with highly accomplished Simmons alumnae. We had the chance to chat with Rebecca Walmer '12, a current Success Connection mentee from Farmington, ME, who is majoring in public health. Through the program, Rebecca was connected with Kathie Westpheling '71, executive director at the Association of Clinicians for the Underserved.
- Q. What made you decide to sign up for the Success Connection program?
- I was abroad when I signed up for the Success Connection program, and I was feeling really unsure about what I wanted to do after graduation. I lacked a practical understanding of the demands in public health, and I was at a point where I needed exposure and feedback from someone in the field.
- Q. Why do you think mentorships are important?
- A good mentorship is important because it gives you the opportunity to learn from an individual who has the knowledge base to answer questions and provide career guidance. Developing a relationship and maintaining contact is beneficial for both the mentor and mentee.
- Q. How did your mentorship relate to your professional interests?
- I was matched with Kathie Westpheling '71 MPH. Kathie is an experienced non-profit executive director and advocate for health equity with long-time interests in nutrition and prevention. This placement aligned particularly well with my own interests and career goals, as well as my passion for health disparities and underserved populations. Through her work with the Association of Clinicians for the Underserved, Kathie has improved the development and support of health care clinicians serving these populations. I also had the opportunity to shadow Kathie at Health Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), an organization that provides a better understanding of health care information and management systems.
- Q. How has the Success Connection program helped you with your goals after graduation?
- During my Success Connection experience, I had the opportunity to take part in a two-day job-shadow visit to Washington D.C. I had time to talk with my mentor personally and also to network with other students and professionals. The experience really opened up new career possibilities for me to think about, and helped me develop an understanding of the demands in public health and related fields. The Success Connection program has helped me focus my job search and confirmed my desire to pursue a career with a healthcare focus.
- Q. What was your favorite part of the program?
- My favorite part of the program was meeting with my mentor and learning from her professional journey, which began as a Simmons undergraduate. It makes me proud to know that a Simmons alumna has gone on to become such a prominent leader in her field!
- Q. What advice would you give to students considering applying to the Success Connection program?
- The best piece of advice I think I can give to fellow undergraduates is to throw yourself into gaining exposure and exploring the career paths you're interested in. Programs like Success Connection are designed to utilize the strong alumnae network at Simmons and to help you learn more about your chosen major or field.
Interested in job-shadowing a successful alumnae? Applications to the 2013 Success Connection Program are due no later than Monday, April 9, 2012. You can apply online.
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