As Scholars enter the professional world, many don’t have access to the networks other students rely on. At Steppingstone, we’re working to change that. To help close this opportunity gap, we launched a professional connections initiative, which builds relationships between college-aged Scholars and professionals in their field of interest. Since 2016, 28 Scholars have taken advantage of this new program. Read one of their stories below.
Simon Acevedo is a Steppingstone Scholar, graduate of Brimmer and May School, and Suffolk University freshman who has his eye on a career in business. Through Steppingstone, Simon recently connected with Marina Hatsopoulos, an entrepreneur who founded one of the world’s first 3D printing companies.
When I learned about Professional Connections through my Steppingstone Advisor, I wanted to be involved because it’s a great way to get insight into the business field and advice on what I can do now and in the future to prepare for my career.
It was definitely an advantage to speak to someone who has accomplished things similar to what I hope to accomplish myself.
Mentorship is crucial for people in my shoes because we aspire to certain things that are not always represented by people like us. As a result, it can be hard to take the right steps and to feel encouraged. I knew that meeting with an entrepreneur would provide great insight because my mentor started her own company. Marina put my goals into perspective and gave advice on how to go about achieving them. Having a professional mentor sparked new conversations that might not have popped up with my academic or personal mentors.
I was interested in being involved in this program because I know how valuable a mentor’s experience can be in guiding someone who’s preparing for their career, and how powerful the professional network of a 50-year-old can be relative to the network of a teenager.
Simon was striking in how confident he is: authentic and strong, open and honest, and very comfortable in his own skin. I loved his optimism and sense of possibility. As Simon moves through college toward a career, I hope I’m able to help him think things through so he can make thoughtful life decisions with more perspective than he might otherwise have. I would be proud to connect him with any relevant network to help him establish himself professionally.
This piece originally appeared in the Spring 2017 edition of The Steppingstone Magazine. Click here to read more!