Professional organizations mentor, network

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A discounted student membership is possible.

By Jennifer M. Ytuarte

sac-ranger@alamo.edu

It is important for students to learn from professionals working in the student’s desired field and learn from them, said Elizabeth Haan, administrative computer technology lead coordinator.

Haan said joining a professional organization in a student’s field of study will open a wealth of knowledge and networking opportunities.

She said many organizations have a student rate or discount for membership.

Haan said some professional organizations assign a mentor, so as the student progresses through college, the mentor tutors, encourages and helps the student reach their goals.

Counselor Julie Engel said every field of study has some type of professional organization and many fields have two or more.

“Sometimes an organization is focused on helping its members pass their certification exams, while others discuss changes in the industry,” she said.

She said an organization will have some type of monthly meeting, either a casual dinner discussion or a formal lecture with a keynote speaker.

Engel said, “Don’t be afraid to ask about internships or job opportunities during social gatherings and mixers.”

She said many organizations have an internal job board where preference is given to members, and the business can request a character testimony from the organization.

Paralegal professor Tandy Schoolcraft said, “A lot of my older students understand the importance and join the professional associations, but it is hard to get the younger students engaged.

“These are people in the height of business, locally, regionally or nationally and the nuggets of wisdom they share are invaluable for students; they need to get involved,” she said.

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