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The LSA Opportunity Hub is working with alumni to launch a new online mentoring and networking platform called LSA Connect in 2020, which will be exclusively for the LSA community.
LSA Connect is a social media-like platform where students and alumni can make authentic connections, seek advice, and share expertise. Alumni can contribute from anywhere in the world, at whatever level fits their schedule—from participating in a discussion thread about their industry for an hour to mentoring a student over the course of a year-plus.
LSA Connect is a tool designed by Bay Area tech company PeopleGrove, a leader in the online mentorship space.
The LSA Opportunity Hub’s mentorship program managers, DeMario Bell and Jamie Monville, have been working closely with alumni on a series of pilot initiatives meant to test the functionality of the platform and give Hub staff data about how the LSA community is engaging online.
One such pilot was launched in partnership with the Hub’s Applebaum Internship Program, which matches LSA students with positions in the arts and nonprofits of the Detroit area. A cohort of 21 interns was paired with alumni mentors living or working in metro Detroit. Each alum created a profile that indicated what their areas of expertise were and their level of availability.
The pilot included alum Emily Hyde, a 2017 graduate with a bachelor of arts in anthropology and biochemistry.
“I always jump at the chance to connect with current students, and the opportunity to be a mentor was no exception,” said Hyde. “Being part of programs like this allows me to feel connected to the university, even after graduation, and reflect on my own Michigan experience in a more meaningful way.”
LSA Connect will make its debut to the entire network of alumni and students in fall 2020. Inside the platform will be Reddit-style chat threads that allow people to discuss topics related to industry, major, or other professional interests. There are also opportunities for alumni and students to connect one-on-one, where they can establish a flash mentorship or a longer-term mentorship relationship. And there are groups, which are communities focused on particular topics or interest areas, such as “women in business” or “philosophy majors.”
“There is so much research to show that having a mentor is one of the keys to being successful and navigating the global marketplace,” Bell said. “We’re really looking forward to providing LSA alumni and students a top-notch tool to make mentorship and professional development conversations accessible to everyone. And what’s really key is how easy it will make it to give back to your alma mater in a meaningful way.”
To learn more about mentorship, send the Hub an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.