Cognitive Science Alumni-Student Career Mentoring Program

Cognitive Science Alumni-Student Careering Mentoring

The purpose of the Cognitive Science Alumni-Student Mentoring program at UC Berkeley is to connect students to alumni. This will help students build and expand their professional networks, gain career insights, and clarify the industries that they are interested in working in. Mentors will be able to share their industry experience, offer their own insights on establishing a successful career, and help students see themselves as future professionals. 

Mentors and students can expect to meet four times throughout a calendar year. Each check-in will have a topic to help guide conversation. The topics below are merely suggestions and can change depending on what your goals are for mentorship. 

  1. Getting to know one another

  2. How did your mentor gain professional experience before graduation?

  3. Brainstorming professional development opportunities and/or resume/C.V. help

  4. Closing out and deciding how to proceed in the future

Each check-in should range from 20-30 minutes. Longer check-ins are welcome and encouraged!

More questions? Please see the below FAQ or contact Sofia Vita-Casquejo (savc@berkeley.edu).

FAQ

Who makes a good mentee?

Just about anyone can be a mentee. However, if you are someone who is patient, open, and motivated you are more likely to experience success in your mentoring relationship. Through patience, you understand that this is only the beginning of your professional development and that pay off might not be immediate. With openness, you are receptive to your mentor’s feedback and insights; you take in criticism with humility rather than defensiveness and understand these critiques are invitations to grow. Lastly, motivation helps you actively take your mentor’s advice into consideration and apply it to how you approach your goals.

What can I gain from participating in this program?

Students who participate in this program will gain clarity around careers available to CogSci majors after graduation. Moreover, you will gain support, advice, encouragement, and tips on how to break into your desired field. You will also begin to build or expand your professional network and further develop your professionalism.

How much time can I expect to commit to this program?

At minimum, mentors and students will be expected to meet four times throughout a year for 20 minutes each. How long you will need to prepare for each session will vary. Some of you may want to come in prepared with questions; some of you might want to read about your mentor’s research/company; some of you may prefer to let conversation flow naturally. It is entirely up to you how much time you spend preparing for your meetings. 

Between sessions, it is up to your mentor how available they are willing and able to be. This may be a topic for mentors and students to address during their first meeting.

How will I know when I’ve been paired with a mentor?

Sofia will reach out to you to let you know that you have been paired with a mentor. They will send you an email with your mentor’s name, contact information, and some tips on how to reach out. If you would like to schedule a meeting to discuss how to reach out, please feel free to contact Sofia

How will I communicate with my mentor?

Initial contact will happen over email. Your actual sessions may be in-person, via Zoom (or other like platform), or over the phone. After your first meeting, you and your mentor can further discuss the best mode of communication.

My mentor is non-responsive, what should I do?

Please contact Sofia and they will help brainstorm ways to reach out again or pair you with a new mentor.

Only four meetings? Can we schedule more?

Absolutely! The four meetings are only a suggestion to encourage the development of a professional mentoring relationship.

What happens once those four sessions are over? Can I continue meeting with my mentor?

Yes! If you and your mentor connected and you both want to continue checking-in afterwards, that is more than welcome. Feel free to ask Sofia how you might broach this topic with your mentor.

I am interested in meeting with another mentor, who can I contact?

SofiaThey will make a note and let you know when you have been paired with another mentor.