Alumni Mentoring Program
As you may know, QUEST has recently transferred the alumni-mentoring program to the online site, WiseGuy. WiseGuy is a online tutoring website that was developed by three University of Maryland alumni, including QUEST alumnus Jeremy Loya (Q16). According to the WiseGuy website, the website’s vision is “to create university centric online communities that empower students to build meaningful peer relationships and help each other succeed academically and beyond.” Jeremy Loya, who is one of WiseGuy’s founders and also a QUEST alum, describes the website as a “university focused peer learning platform” that allows on-campus organizations and programs to facilitate their own mentoring and tutoring programs on an online platform.
QUEST has adapted the WiseGuy model to the alumni-mentoring program by allowing alumni to become “WiseGuys.” Each mentor can upload a picture of himself or herself along with a brief personal biography highlighting his or her experiences. In addition, WiseGuy allows the mentors to list a few areas of expertise that they possess and courses that they can help with. Students can then log on to the website, evaluate the available mentors, and schedule an appointment. Since the website is integrated with Google Drive, the video chat is facilitated through Google Hangouts. Contrary to the previous system where students and their mentors would meet in person, the site provides a virtual platform for students to engage with alumni based on their own schedules. Currently, there are over 45 alumni that are signed up on WiseGuy to serve as mentors to current students.
According to Jessica Macklin, the QUEST program’s Program Coordinator, Loya is the person who originally proposed the idea. From there, a survey was disseminated to QUEST students to evaluate their attitudes towards the original format of the mentoring program and to inquire whether students would be interested in transferring to an online platform. Macklin says that students felt that the old mentoring system was not always able to match the right mentor with the right mentee. Even worse, students and mentors would connect once and never hear from each other again. In contrast, switching to a new platform allows students to go through a selection of mentors and decide which mentor(s) would be the best fit for them. Also, since WiseGuys fill out their own availability, scheduling meetings is quick and easy. Loya helped facilitate the process by creating a better experience for all participants, including students, mentors, and coordinators. In this role, he helped participants learn how to sign up, navigate the website, and understand WiseGuy’s benefits and how it can be used.
Overall, the switch to the WiseGuy platform provides a simple way for students to develop their network and for mentors to help multiple students at once. If you’re interested in becoming a mentor or a mentee, just follow this link to the WiseGuy site to get started!
To learn more about how it works, click here!