Q&A with Courtney Shelton: How Mentorship Brings Students and Alumni Together

November 4, 2020

Q&A with Courtney Shelton: How Mentorship Brings Students and Alumni Together

American College of Education recently launched the ACE Alumni Sharing Knowledge Network, a place for students and alumni to easily connect with each other and develop mentoring relationships. To learn more about the platform and other ways ACE stays connected with our alumni, we spoke to Courtney Shelton, ACE alumni engagement officer.

ACE: What is your favorite part about working with ACE alumni?

Courtney Shelton (CS): I believe education is so important in life – both personally and professionally. I love when people pursue continuing their education. Completing a degree is not easy, so I love celebrating with our alumni and hearing about their career successes after they leave. Attaining an online degree can be daunting, so I also love when our alumni are willing to share their tips for success.

ACE: How does ACE engage with alumni and keep them active in the college community?

CS: We’ve had two in-person alumni receptions so far, in Chicago and Orlando, and hope to do more in the future. In the meantime, we’ve shifted to hosting virtual alumni receptions every few months.

Alumni also have access to the ACE Digital Toolbox, a collection of ongoing webinars that cover all sorts of topics that can assist you both professionally and personally. Webinars happen about once a month, but if you can’t attend live, you can find recordings of past webinars on our website.

Our alumni newsletter, which goes out every two months, is how we’ll keep you up to date on upcoming alumni receptions, webinars, alumni news and other opportunities. (If you’re an alum who hasn’t received a newsletter, please email alumni@ace.edu to update your email address.)

Finally, I am excited to announce a new platform called the ACE Alumni Sharing Knowledge (ASK) Network. Alumni have been very eager to share advice with our current students, so we’ve created this platform to give alumni an easy way to do that. It will also allow alumni to connect and reach out to each other.

ACE: The ASK Network gives students the ability to find mentors who have been in their shoes. Why should someone have a mentor?

CS: Everyone should consider finding a mentor. There are always people who have more experience than you but also know what it’s like to be in your shoes. Sometimes you just need someone to understand what you are experiencing. Other times, you might need advice on how to be successful in your current career or pursue a promotion. Or maybe you’re facing a challenge and want to ask someone familiar with your job how to overcome it. Mentors are the people you can turn to.

ACE: On the flip side, why should someone want to become a mentor?

CS: As a mentor, you can bring a lot of value to someone’s career without even realizing it. Sometimes sharing even the smallest piece of advice might resonate greatly with someone else. In addition, being a mentor can help you increase your soft skills. You practice active listening and communication. Finally, mentoring is a great way to give back and pay it forward. You can help inspire the next generation of industry leaders.

ACE: What else will students and alumni to discover on the ASK Network?

CS: Mentorship is just one aspect of the ASK Network. It is also home to several affinity groups, which will allow students and alumni to find others who share their background or interests. There is also a resources section with tips on resume and cover letter writing, mentorship and more. For alumni, there’s also a discussion board where you can interact with one another. But the best part of the ASK Network is creating a community just for ACE. You know you’re still part of the ACE family even after you graduate.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of American College of Education.

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