Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program
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Ben Berkman

Major: Economics, French
Minor: n/a
Hometown: State College, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

The Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program is visibly circulated throughout both Paterno Fellows and Liberal Arts e-newsletters. For me, I chose to pursue a mentor because I felt like I could use the guidance of a business professional in a field that I hoped to enter. Fortunately, my chosen mentor works at a company I am familiar with, and shares many similar experiences with me.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

My experience has been confined by the fact that I am studying abroad for the semester, and have not been able to physically meet with my mentor in person. That being said, my mentor has been very open to Skyping with me and answering any questions I have via email, despite her incredibly busy schedule. At first, I spoke to my mentor to learn more about her company, situated in the same field as my internship last summer. As our talks progressed, she helped me explore possible openings at her company for the coming summer. Though I won't be working with my mentor this summer, we'll stay in touch as I enter my senior year.

How did this experience impact you academically?

My mentor advised me on which courses she took to land her a job at a powerful commercial real estate firm. Other than that, my academic benefits have again been confined by the fact that I am abroad for the semester. I anticipate more benefits in the coming fall.

I was able to learn about a field I'm very interested in, and connect on a personal level with a professional who shares many of my experiences.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

I hope to couple my economic education along with my French education and abroad experience to work in an international business field. After speaking with my mentor, and completing a summer internship in a similar field last summer, I feel that economic analysis of commercial real estate and land use are incredibly interesting paths for me. My mentor helped me hone these interests, and learn more about the field.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Absolutely. I think everyone gets a different experience from their mentor. For me, I was able to learn about a field I'm very interested, and connect on a personal level with a professional who shares many of my experiences. My mentor also thoroughly critiqued my resume -- having a critique from someone inside the business world, that frequently evaluates resumes -- was also extremely helpful.

For more information on the Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program, visit our website. 
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