Sanofi Mentorship Program Offers Guidance for Students
After coming to the US from Nigeria in 2014, Janet Adeleke felt she needed some extra help navigating college life and transitioning into the professional world. The Raritan Valley Community College student has found the help she needed thanks to the Sanofi US Corporate Mentor Program, which connects RVCC students with industry professionals to enhance their educational experience.
“Being new to the country, I knew that I needed someone to help me interact with people in a professional setting,” says the Hillsborough resident. The Nursing major, who is the first in her family to attend college, plans to graduate from RVCC in May.
Adeleke’s mentor in the program is Filomena Masullo, Lead New Hire Orientation, Sanofi Business Services – North America. Masullo, who has 38 years of corporate experience, says because she never attended college she “had to work twice as hard as everyone else” to succeed professionally. The Basking Ridge resident therefore emphasizes to her mentee “the importance of going to school and getting an education so you can set your career goals.”
Working with Masullo in the program, “It has really helped me to know how to relate with other professionals,” notes Adeleke, 25, adding that she’s learned about how to dress and act in a professional setting.
Adeleke is one of 10 RVCC students who were selected through a competitive application process to participate in the mentoring program, which was launched this past summer with a $40,000 grant from Sanofi NA Corporate Social Responsibility. It’s the College’s first formal corporate mentor program, and its creator, Alicia Hermo-Weaver, RVCC Coordinator of Internships and Cooperative Education, believes there’s no other program like it in the state. Leadership teams from Sanofi and RVCC have created a structured mentoring program for students and an enriching experience for Sanofi mentors. Sanofi’s volunteer mentors are mid- and senior-level employees representing science and research; technology; marketing and communications; and business and finance.
“Being mentored during my career has been instrumental in helping me navigate my path, and when I mentor others, it’s a way I give back,” says Sanofi’s Clint Wallace, Chair, U.S. Country Council and Head, NA Human Resources. “Our 10 employee mentors are giving back by providing guidance to students who represent our future workforce.”
One of those Sanofi mentors, Jeffrey Seguritan of Lawrenceville, says, “The Sanofi Corporate Mentorship program was something I was really excited to be part of because I know I’ve been the beneficiary of great advice throughout my career—maybe not from official mentors, but from really good managers and colleagues.” For Seguritan, Senior Manager of Performance Analytics & Reporting for US Diabetes & Cardiovascular Business Unit, working with RVCC student Carlos Pareja is his first experience mentoring a college student. In his conversations with his mentee, “I have gained appreciation for the little things toward shaping one’s career, such as making a great first impression, applying small steps toward better organization, and taking those pauses to think and reflect on critical situations. It’s been a very rewarding experience for me.”
For his part, Pareja says through his participation in the program, the 24-year-old has “gained more knowledge on how to be a professional. Jeffrey has helped me prepare for interviews which have resulted in an acceptance” into a prestigious hospital internship program. The North Plainfield resident, who worked as a medic in the Navy for five years before attending RVCC, plans to study biology or neuroscience after graduating from RVCC this spring and eventually attend medical school.
Pareja, Seguritan, Masullo and Adeleke join all of the mentors and mentees for monthly meetings at RVCC’s Branchburg campus and are encouraged to connect with each other via Skype for additional meetings. As part of the project, RVCC also has partnered with INROADS, a globally recognized internship program that also provides comprehensive training and development of both mentors and mentees.
During the meetings, students explore career opportunities and develop strategies for their professional, academic, and social success. Students also attend special seminars that are designed to build a bridge between college and work. All of the experiences enable participants to explore different career paths and to promote teamwork and leadership skills necessary to succeed in a competitive, global economy.
The mentoring program will culminate with a job shadow day at Sanofi in April, along with a closing ceremony in May honoring both the mentors and the mentees. Students who successfully meet all of the program’s requirement also receive a $1,500 scholarship.
The feedback from the mentees, mentors and the Sanofi US leadership team has been overwhelmingly positive. Notes Seguritan, “I have been awed by the incredible body of work and personal drive I've seen among the students I've had the chance to meet at RVCC.”
Because of the program’s success, Sanofi US has committed to funding the program for the 2018-2019 academic year with 15 RVCC students. All of the RVCC students must have completed at least a year of college before applying to the program.
And it’s not only the mentees who have gained from their experience. Working with Adeleke “sparked my interested in pursuing some online classes,” Masullo says, adding. “You’re never too old” to pursue an education.
For additional information about the Sanofi US Corporate Mentor Program, contact RVCC program coordinators Shay Wadher, Coordinator of Academic Success, at firstname.lastname@example.org; or Alicia Hermo-Weaver, Coordinator of Internships and Cooperative Education, at email@example.com. For additional information, visit http://rvccmentorprogram.com/.
Raritan Valley Community College’s main campus is located at 118 Lamington Road in Branchburg, NJ. For further information, visit www.raritanval.edu.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 12, 2018
Media contacts: (RVCC) Donna Stolzer, 908-526-1200, ext. 8383; (Sanofi US) Anna Robinson, 908-229-6871