Science and Technology
Discovering new paths, and invaluable advisors, through Mentor Match
Bryant’s Mentor Match program connects College of Arts and Sciences students with faculty who have professional interests and experience in fields they’d like to explore, helping the students to expand their horizons, discover new paths and build key relationships. The program, now in its second year, focuses on five interdisciplinary areas: education; the environment; health care; public service, policy, and social justice; and art, entertainment and publishing.
"We’re working to ensure that College of Arts and Sciences students find great mentors who help launch them into their careers and graduate school – and who continue to be mentors for them long after they graduate from Bryant,” says Associate Professor of Applied Psychology Allison Butler, Ph.D., the founder of the Mentor Match program and head of its education group.
"I love teaching and I love research but what I really love doing is connecting with students and helping them find their way."
Through the program, students explore educational and professional pathways, find advisors, and discuss important issues and current events. Mentor Match also aims to make it easy for students to identify faculty who have expertise or professional experience in interdisciplinary fields and to learn about areas of study beyond their major. A partnership with Bryant’s Amica Center for Career Education brings in professionals and resources from outside the University community as well.
"Mentor Match gets students thinking outside of their own discipline,” says Professor of Applied Psychology Joseph Trunzo, Ph.D., co-chair of the program’s healthcare section. “It helps them discover what they’re interested in and passionate about, and then connects them with people who have some expertise in those areas.”
The best part of the job
Amber Thomas ’18, a Biology and Applied Psychology double major who plans to go on to a career in neuropsychology, met Trunzo through Mentor Match, which led to a wide range of opportunities for her, including research funded by the Rhode Island Idea Network of Biomedical Research Excellence ( RI-INBRE). "Professor Trunzo has helped me choose courses, find professional contacts, and take advantage of research experiences that will help me prepare for graduate school," she says. "Had I not gone through the Mentor Match program, I don't know if I would have been exposed to all those different things, or developed the awesome mentor relationship I have with him."
For Trunzo, that sort of close mentoring is a vital element of being a good teacher, especially at Bryant. “This is really my favorite part of this job,” he notes. “I love teaching and I love research but what I really love doing is connecting with students and helping them find their way. That’s why we all do this.”
In addition to networking opportunities and sessions on career paths, the program also offers a forum for wide-ranging discussions. A recent meeting brought together faculty from across the College of Arts and Sciences for a roundtable discussion about issues related to health care.
"Integrated learning is in the fabric of a Bryant education,” says Butler. “Mentor Match is a great way to emphasize that there are so many great career paths that come out of, and combine, arts and sciences disciplines."