The sessions, which took place at the IEEE Life Members Conference, were designed to encourage IEEE Life Members to share their wealth of experience and knowledge as mentors; and provide a platform for young professionals and students to find mentors and actively participate in a mentoring program. 

 The Mentoring Sessions were kicked off with opening comments from Terry Branch.

LMC Mentoring Sessions

The first mentoring session, a panel session titled ‘Mentorship Impacts: Important Perspectives on Mentoring Through the Lens of Students to Life Members ‘, was a well-structured and engaging discussion:

Panel SessionModerated by John McDonald, an IEEE Life Fellow, the panel included Mark Carpenter, an IEEE Life Fellow; Kayna Mendoza Trujillo, an IEEE Young Professional; and Ben Hand, an IEEE Student Member. 

Each panelist shared their opening comments, followed by a dialogue between John McDonald and the three panelists, and concluded with questions from the audience. The panelists provided valuable insights on the need for mentoring and its mutual benefits to both the mentor and the mentee. They also discussed the concept of reverse mentoring, where a student or young professional mentors a more senior, experienced person, and emphasized that the mentee should drive the mentoring relationship and sessions.

The panel session was followed by two sessions titled ‘Mentoring Journey: Tools and Resources to Support You’:

Headshots of the workshop panelists.The Mentoring Workshop, a practical and informative session, was chaired by Kayna Mendoza Trujillo. Kayna provided a comprehensive overview of existing IEEE mentoring programs (e.g., IEEE-HKN, IEEE PES, IEEE Young Professionals) and their platforms and processes. She also discussed the resources available for mentors and mentees to prepare them for their mentoring sessions, ensuring they know what to expect and can derive maximum benefits from their mentoring sessions.

The workshop further demonstrated the application of the panel session and workshop concepts with a live mentoring session. John McDonald mentored Melvin Moncey Joseph, one of his actual mentees, in a ten-minute mentoring session, showcasing that the mentee drives the mentoring session and can cover both work and personal life topics.  

The Mentoring Brainstorm Session was chaired by Celia Shahnaz with assistance from Shawana Tabassum. The audience broke into mentoring sessions, applying the concepts discussed. This was followed by report-outs on key takeaways from each mentoring session. Each report-out provided insights into what was discussed and the benefits realized, showing that each mentoring session is unique.

Key Takeaways: Practical Mentorship

Students learn engineering science during their university studies, including courses, professors, and textbooks. However, an employer is not interested in the science of engineering but the ‘art of engineering’ or how the science is applied in the real world. This is the value the employer (and the employer’s customers) desire from their employees. The art of engineering cannot be learned by reading books and cannot be learned quickly. It requires time with experienced people, asking questions, and learning from them. 

Through mentoring, students or young professionals can accelerate their understanding of the art of engineering. In this way, they will be more valuable to an employer and its customers. IEEE Life Members are a valuable resource for mentoring, leaving a legacy to their industry by helping students and young people succeed in their careers.