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September 3, 2013

Career Development Center Launches Distinctive Mentoring Program

The SUNY College of Optometry’s Career Development Center (CDC) has unveiled a one-of-a-kind mentoring program that is designed to enrich and enhance the academic and professional development of students and residents at the College. In keeping with the CDC’s mission, as well as the College’s new strategic plan which focuses heavily on providing assistance to students, residents and alumni in helping them to realize their career goals, this new program will provide a proactive and meaningful way to network, gain and develop valuable skills and build first-hand knowledge of the optometric profession.

The Family of Mentors Program (FMP) is an easy-to-use, online platform that will match mentors and mentees intelligently based on specific criteria such as career goals, geography and other factors. Once paired, the mentors and mentees will then move through a series of goals and exploratory questions based on the needs and desires of the mentee. Along the way the FMP will provide both individuals with helpful prompts to keep the process on track and moving forward.

“Ultimately with the Family of Mentors Program we’re looking to capitalize on our vast network of alumni as well as our professional and organizational partnerships to create meaningful relationships between students and mentors in order to help positively impact the optometric profession,” said Mr. Francisco Lucio, SUNY’s director of career development and minority enrichment.

To launch the program SUNY has initially developed a pool of approximately 50 mentors drawn from its community of more than 2,200 alumni as well as from the ranks of organized optometry such as the New York State Optometric Association and the corporate world. Not all mentors are required to be optometrists and Mr. Lucio is hoping for a broad cross-section of professional experience among the pool of mentors.

“We want to have a wide variety of mentors available for our students and residents to choose from,” Mr. Lucio said. “There are so many modes of practice within optometry and so many different career goals that our students and residents are interested in and can choose from. We want to be able to offer connections to mentors that will suite anyone’s interests and needs.”

Mr. Lucio said that mentors must have a strong commitment to the CDC’s mission of helping the students and residents who pass through SUNY’s doors realize their professional goals. They must also be willing to commit to providing at least one hour each month to their mentee, whether through the online FMP platform or through face-to-face meetings.

“No other school or college of optometry has engaged in this kind of formalized mentoring program for their students and residents,” Mr. Lucio said. “So we’re excited to see the FMP quickly become a vital tool for them to achieve their professional and personal goals.”