This is the first time a mentorship program has been launched among the Zamorano graduates. In this initial stage, the program will last between six and twelve months. It raises the participants commitment of maintaining contact to at least once a month between the participants. The organizers not only to maintain but alos to grow this program in the future.
The United States Graduate Association of the Panamerican School of Agriculture (AGEAP-USA) launched in January 2021 its first mentorship program to support 4th year students from Zamorano who are looking to further their education in a graduate program in the USA. The purpose of the pilot program is to increase the number of professional relationships between current students and graduate students. It also seeks to provide support to those current students in reaching their short, medium and long-term professional goals. In addition, it is intended to give graduates and professionals an opportunity to share their experiences and knowledge as well as to grow their skills as mentors and leaders.
The program will include a system of registration system for mentors and mentees. Once registered, the group in charge of the organization will assign mentee-mentor partnerships based on the interests and the experiences of each individual. Once the partnerships are assigned, participants will be notified and contact information will be shared via email in order kickstart the intended new academic and professional relationships.
The program has two categories. Category One includes 57 registered mentee-mentor partnerships made up of graduate students in the US as mentors and Zamorano graduates from class 2021 as mentees. Category Two includes 24 registered mentee-mentor partnerships made up of graduates who work in different sectors in the US as mentors, and graduate students in the USA as mentees. In total there are 81 mentee-mentor partnerships formed in this first round that includes approximately 130 participants.
The main goal is for the mentee to be able to learn from other graduates who have more of a track record and have experience. It is hoped that these partnerships will create not only efficiencies and but also help enable quality communication such as explaining an individual’s needs as well as his/her academic goals, listening and thinking about graduate experiences and learning to receive feedback and guidance in the different processes that arise. The program also hopes to help build strong and long lasting professional contacts.
On the mentor´s side, the program’s goal is to help develop interpersonal skills, provide an opportunity to assist in the training of new leaders and professionals, share knowledge and experiences, and finally to learn to provide feedback in a constructive way. Mentor participation will allow them to make a new professional contact and have the satisfaction of helping a colleague, thereby contributing to overall development.
The mentor´s program working committee is consists of the following graduates: Franklin Bonilla – prior President of AGEAP-USA, and Louisiana State University student; Osler Ortez, Coordinator of Category One, and student at University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Dra. Cynthia Machado, Coordinator of Category Two, employed by Novozymes North America; Ana Morales, in charge of communications AGEAP –USA, and student at Purdue University; and Raul Osorio, AGEAP-USA Representative, and student at Mississippi State University.
AGEAP-USA includes nearly 450 Zamorano graduates representing 20 nationalities and living in 39 states within the United States. AGEAP USA has 12 sub chapters which include universities such as LSU, Purdue, Texas Tech, UIllinois, Florida State, North Carolina State, Kansas State, Auburn, the Ohio State, Mississippi State, Nebraska State as well as a West Coast chapter that includes California, Oregon and Arizona.
Zamorano has full confidence in this initiative and considers it a unique opportunity to strengthen relations between students and graduates. It is expected that the program will perform well and serve as a model to be replicated by other Zamorano associations looking for to support collegial trainings.