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The Importance of Mentoring

My school celebrated CS Ed Week with a visit from alumni who are working in CS-related careers. One alumnus spoke to my students over skype about his career in the area of targeted advertising for online magazines. His enthusiasm for his job and working with people on the cutting edge of innovation was exciting to see and hear.

He had two main pieces of advice for the high school students in his audience. The first was to pick up a part-time job in college, in order to get some experience, some spending money, and to explore potential careers. His second piece of advice was to find a mentor. He told us that his mentor has been a long-time confidant who gives advice, listens, probes, questions, and helps him make decisions. It made me realize just what a difference an adult can make in a young person's life. This alumnus is now an adult himself, but he still touches base with a mentor he forged a relationship with back in college.

We, as adults who deal with students every day, should make that effort to make connections with students, to help guide them in their choices for schooling and careers. We should also make some efforts to connect our students with people in the community who could act as mentors to our students. Bringing in industry professionals to speak, taking students on field trips to talk to computer scientists, and seeking out potential internships could end up having a big impact on a student.

Karen Lang
CSTA 9-12 Representative

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