Speed mentoring: face-to-face engagement with students

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March 04, 2019
Have you been inside a high school recently? Fifty professionals from Samsung have. They spent their Employee Volunteer Day participating in Tech Titans speed mentoring events at three area high schools.

How it works
Speed mentoring is an intimate, small-group experience where students talk face-to-face with employees working in the technology sector. Volunteers meet with juniors and seniors to explain their jobs and talk about what it takes to work in specific roles. Students ask questions about what it’s like to work in a technology company and share their own educational and career aspirations.

During each class period, volunteers meet with two-to-three students at a time at for discussion and mentoring. Every fifteen minutes, the students rotate to another volunteer, providing opportunities to meet with multiple tech employees. 

The Samsung volunteers talked to 500 students during this one-day, three-school event.

Why it works
 “Having experts in business and industry interact so personally with students is invaluable,” said Beth Brown, coordinator for career and technical education for Richardson Independent School District. “This one-on-one experience is powerful.”

For some students, speed mentoring is their first opportunity to talk to an executive in an industry where they may work one day. In turn, the kids think about their own career possibilities. “The students hear encouragement from these professionals that they, too, can succeed. The excitement on their faces is contagious,” Brown added.

Students heard from Samsung employees about the excitement of working in a fast-paced culture of innovation, from product design and manufacturing to retail operations, market research and supply chain management. 

Professionals personified the real-world application of math and science education and the reality that all employees leverage some form of technology to do their jobs.

“By taking a day out of their busy schedules to spend with students, our volunteers do something for kids that no one else can,” said Dave Galley, director, Tech Titans STEM Initiative. “The kids feel valued.”

The sound of inspiration
Overhead during speed-mentoring conversations between Samsung employees and students:
  • Two shy boys told volunteer Himanshu Trivedi that they planned to enlist in the military after graduation. He responded enthusiastically, praising technology innovations that come from the military, like GPS. Their eyes shone.
  •  Jaclyn Wyatt, product marketing, explained how she puts together marketing plans for specific products and audiences. 
  • Jeff Blum, logistics management, shared his career path after graduating from Pearce High School (where he was volunteering this day). He joined the military where he trained in electronics and subsequently entered the technology sector.
  • Shonal Kollhaftar, product management, explained his work in user experience (UX) and virtual reality. He talked about collaborating with gaming and entertainment companies. 
  • Engineer Vinay Mahenda explained how math and science studies build a foundation for engineering and problem solving.

Tech Titans help build the STEM workforce pipeline
“These students are just two, four and six years away from joining the workforce,” said Galley. “Events like speed mentoring show students that they have a place in the Metroplex. We need the organic contributions of people in the STEM workforce pipeline.”

Want to get involved?
Both member companies and individuals can volunteer with many ongoing opportunities through the Tech Titans STEM Initiative. For more information visit  https://techtitans.org/stem-talent/ or contact Dave Galley, Tech Titans STEM director at dave@techtitans.org or 469-951-8239.
Amy Alexander, Director, Marketing and Communications
(972) 792-2862