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CSB seniors fill five of eight spots in competitive female mentorship program

Five CSB seniors, with a mentor’s guidance, are actively pursuing career paths.

The Forum of Executive Women offered eight female senior students from area colleges–St. Cloud State University, The College of St. Benedict, St. Cloud Technical, Rasmussen, Minnesota School of Business and The College of St. Scholastica–the opportunity to participate in an academic membership program.

The Forum of Executive Women, or FEW for short, is a non-profit organization that started in 1982. It strives to promote growth and connections among women professionals. The forum is composed of a group of diverse women with leadership positions ranging from business professionals to community leaders.

The program will provide selected students an opportunity to job shadow a FEW member who holds a career they are interested in pursuing. In addition, selectees attend one of the program’s monthly lunch meetings and are able to network with other FEW members. Upon the eight selected students this year, five were St. Ben’s seniors.

Mary Harlander-Locke, associate director of Career Services at CSB/SJU, sits on FEW’s board. She said the admissions committee wasn’t necessarily looking for an out-of-this-world candidate.

“We wanted it to be fair so it was open to basically any college senior female student in the area with knowledge and a strong interest in a particular career…Students who had a career interest that matched the career of a member of FEW were our stronger candidates. We didn’t want to select students and not have a mentor they could be paired up with,” Harlander-Locke said.

When asked if there were specific things the committee looked for in each of the applicants’ resume Harlander-Locke confidently said no.

“I think St. Bens students are very well known for being involved young women. So we had no doubt that each resume would be filled with extra-curricular activities and other involvements. That also says a lot about why five out of the eight admitted students were Bennies,” Harlander-Locke said.

Jane Gengel is one of the eight females selected to take part in the 2013 FEW student cohort. She is a senior communication major and is interested in going into a public relations career. During a sit down interview, Gengel received an email with information on her F.E.W. mentor. Gengel’s mentor is Rebecca Kurowski, Communications Manager for Coborns Inc.

“It seemed like a really interesting opportunity. It would help me build connections and a network. It also included luncheons and the opportunity to attend speaker series with strong women leaders. Networking scares me, but this will throw me into the deep end of the pool which is what I need,” Gengel said.

Nhu Nguyen is a senior economics and mathematics double major. Her mentor is CSB alum Laura Tomczik who is the Senior Account Executive of Mahowald Insurance Agency.

Nguyen recommends her peers to get involved in school clubs and organizations because the experience will come in handy in the future.

“FEW is just one of many great resource that you should take advantage of before stepping into the business world. I believe these resources and involvements are necessary preparation to help boost confidence in a professional work environment. And you will have fun along the way too,” Nguyen said.

The selected seniors will individually meet with their mentors as early as December.