Professional Connections Program
The goal of the program is to pair UIC engineering juniors or seniors with experienced UIC engineering alumni for an exchange of information on education, professionalism, aspirations, ideas and professional connections! These pairings provide a learning experience for students outside the classroom, where they have a chance to see the opportunities that a professional environment has in store for them and for students to start growing their professional network.
How the Professional Connections Program can benefit you:
- Receive career/life advice and suggestions overall
- Learn about detailed experiences that UIC engineering alumni have had
- Gain ideas about different directions to pursue and help identify interests
- Develop professional connections and potential opportunities
- Learn about developing specific skills to make yourself more marketable
- Learn about projects UIC engineering alumni have completed in their professional experience
- Discuss non-traditional ideas on what to do after completing a degree (e.g. attend grad school, certifications)
- Understand and discuss current trends and skills in specific engineering industries
- Be enrolled as a junior or senior UIC engineering student
- Complete the Student application and a mandatory orientation training
- Complete 1 online check-in survey during the 4 months of the program and a final online summary at the end of February
- Maintain communication & set up in person, phone or Skype meetings at least once a month from November-February.
- Think about what you want to gain from the program and discuss your needs/expectations with your mentor. Don’t expect a job or internship from your UIC alum connection!
- Be committed to carrying out agreed-upon goals and follow through with them. Be receptive to suggestions
- Contact your UIC engineering alum connection if you are unable to attend scheduled meetings. Remember they are volunteering their time
- Use the monthly prompts sent by the program manager to engage in meaningful career related conversations
- Students are expected to treat their UIC engineering alum connection with dignity and respect at all times. The student/alum connection is a professional relationship, and participants are expected to maintain proper boundaries at all times.
- Matches will occur according to the major preference that the UIC engineering alum selected with the student’s engineering major
- Each pair will receive an email from the program manager introducing the student and their UIC engineering alum connection
- The student will be responsible for contacting their UIC engineering alum connection within one week
- If a UIC engineering alum or student decides to withdraw from the program or feels the connection is not working, they must notify the Engineering Career Center (ECC) as soon as possible
Professional Connections Testimonials
“The connection is going very well with my student. We have met a couple of times to focus on her plans for after graduation and any advice or connections I can help her with. Our last meeting was at a construction site to give her the opportunity to see real life engineering.” ~JR, Clayco
“We have regular phone calls and touch base. I gave my mentee a tour of the facility where I work. I also reviewed his resume and gave him some ideas that have been pretty successful to get some industry experience.” ~Michael, James Instruments Inc.
“This program is great! Students can connect with people in the industry who can offer real world advice. I would have given anything to have had this kind of academic experience when I was an engineering student!” ~Stacy, Isolinear Data Inc.