Joanna Lazarek is the Associate Director of Internships and Alumni Career Engagement at Suffolk University, and she has long been concerned about college students--particularly low-income students who may be the first in their family to attend college-- who struggle in school and then after graduation.
Four years ago, when she started the Ram Alumni Mentoring Program (RAMP), she realized how rewarding it was to connect students with mentors. Last summer, she spent a lot of time researching mentoring programs and connecting with professionals in college and career mentoring and realized that there wasn't a professional group that dealt specifically with this sector of mentoring. That is when she and her partner, Yelena Galperina, created the College and Career Mentoring Professionals (CCMP) group, which is comprised of professionals from nonprofits, industry, and academia.
The group recently started monthly meetings and created a LinkedIn group to provide a platform for members to connect and share support, resources, ideas, challenges, and successes, and brainstorm ways that they can use mentoring as a lever to increase college success and employment opportunities for this demographic group.