One of the great advantages Temple students have long enjoyed is the opportunity to work directly with top industry executives under the IBIT mentorship program. This year was no different—though thanks to the wrench that the COVID-19 pandemic threw into the midst of the 2019-2020 academic year, program participants faced unusual challenges.
As in-person instruction moved online, IBIT leaders and program participants also quickly shifted gears to protect and maintain the mentorship experience. As it happens, the program this year was as robust as it has ever been, with 11 industry executives and 13 students on board (up from three mentors and three students last year). In keeping with the tradition of the program, the mentors were members of either the IT Advisory Board or executives of IBIT member firms, including George Llado, SVP & CIO of Alexion; Chris Cera, the CEO of Arcweb; and Larry Dignan, Global Editor-in-Chief of ZDNet.
Students were matched with the executives based on how well the mentor’s background and expertise lined up with a student’s aspirations. Senior Kevin Dang says that not only did he feel like the pairing with his mentor, Dignan, was spot on, but he also appreciated the “organic” nature of the relationship and the flexibility of their interaction. “I reached out to him when I needed help and when I felt was right, not on a schedule that was assigned to me,” Dang says. “The mentorship allowed me to connect with another person whom I know I can reach out to anytime if I need help.”
Dignan, too, found the experience to be a positive one. “It was fun talking cybersecurity and career plans with Kevin,” he says. “I see him going far.”
The next goal for the program is to include a dozen mentors who take on one to three students each.
Senior Jordan Febles, who was mentored by IT advisory board chair Bruce Fadem, says his experience with the program in the 2019-2020 school year ended up resulting in the best mentorship he’s ever had.
“It motivated me to become the best version of myself, and allowed me to gain experience from a fascinating person within his field,” he says. “It also showed me the various stages IT has had in developing the world, and how it will continue to develop the future.”