Volume 26, No. 1: Steady Progress in CP Systems

Pike High School’s “Speed Mentoring” Program

Jeanette Craw, Workforce Liaison, Pike High School, Indianapolis, Indiana

Pike High School has partnered with two local businesses that mentor students in Health Science, Engineering, IT, and Science pathways. Mentors from these two organizations come to the high school to meet with juniors in the YCC Program during academic advising periods scheduled throughout the semester. Students meet with their mentors to discuss networking, leadership skills, résumé writing, and employability (soft) skills. To meet the requirements of the grant, one-on-one mentoring takes place in two 30-minute sessions. Two students rotate with their mentors between sessions. The concept is similar to speed dating, but the mentors meet with the students to help them develop good communication skills while building professional relationships with people in STEM industry.

One company, 3M Aearo Technologies, manufactures the widest selection of materials and products for cushioning and for controlling noise, vibration, and shock. They provide mentors who represent all areas of the company to share their backgrounds and leadership abilities with the students. Students meet with electrical and manufacturing engineers, supply chain analysts, research and development engineers, and even business and marketing professionals. One student stated, "I like being able to talk to someone who is actually working in a career that I am interested in doing." The mentees were able to take a tour of the company to see where their mentors work and to learn more about the company. The students heard from engineers, manufacturing and human resources personnel, and research and development team leaders. At the end of the tour, students asked questions about what colleges they should attend and what it takes to work at that company.

Another company, Sigma Tau Pharmasource, manufactures parenteral drugs for cancer patients. Mentors from Sigma Tau are microbiologists, chemists, process engineers, quality assurance personnel, and quality control analysts. Students enrolled in the second course of PLTW Biomedical Science classes meet with mentors who work at this company. They learn about all the different careers in the pharmaceutical industry. Sigma Tau Pharmasource has also opened its doors for seven field trips to over 140 students in the first-level PLTW Biomedical Science course, Principles of Biomedical Science. They were able to tour the facility's manufacturing area, chemistry lab, and microbiology lab. At the conclusion of the tour, the students were provided with pizza lunches and time to interact with employees.

The Speed Mentoring program is continually growing as new mentors sign on once they hear about the program from their coworkers. The program is designed to impact the most students while respecting the valuable time of the professional mentors. The mentors enjoy sharing their experiences to help students, and the students truly appreciate meeting professionals in careers that they are interested in pursuing. This gives them a real-world look at careers and industries in STEM. One mentor said, "I have never had anyone listen so intently to anything I have had to say before this program!"

For more information, contact the author at jscraw@pike.k12.in.us.