A new mentoring program in the Paul and Virginia Engler College of Business is the female-based, student-alumni mentoring program called the CISters. In conjunction with Computer Information Systems faculty, the program is designed to provide leadership, networking, and professional development opportunities for the female students in the CIS program as they transition towards careers in computing and information technology. The program matches current CIS students with CIS female alumni. Presently, there are 5 mentors and 15 mentees in the program. Dr. Nesrin Bakir, a Clinical Assistant Professor of CIS, is the faculty lead for the program. “The mentoring program provides our students with professional female role models from industry who assist them as they seek entry into the work world. The program addresses the unfortunate reality of underrepresentation of women in technology related fields. The mentoring program is a great opportunity for our students to interact with our former students and to help them envision themselves as IT professionals in a comfortable environment,” Bakir said.
The kickoff event was held in February 2017 where the mentees met the mentors for the first time. Throughout the program, the mentees participated in workshops on resume building, job searching and networking skills, a field trip to a local technology company, and monthly emails that included encouraging videos or articles related to women in technology. The mentors worked closely with the mentees based on the mentees’ needs and their personal and professional goals. At the end of the semester, the CISters had a gathering where mentees and mentors met to reflect on their experiences and identified ways to improve the program for the following academic year.