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December 10, 2013

Unique Mentoring Program Launched by the Career Development Center

The Career Development Center (CDC) was established in 2012 as way to help the students, residents and alumni of the College meet their career goals. Through its various programs, events and individualized activities, the CDC has created opportunities for busy students and professionals to connect and create meaningful relationships that are critical for career development and advancement.

Recently, the CDC developed a unique new mentoring program, the first of its kind among schools and colleges of optometry, called the Family of Mentors Program. We asked Mr. Francisco Lucio, director of career development and minority enrichment at the College, to answer a few questions about this new program and talk to us about its goals.

Tell us why the Career Development Center decided to create the Family of Mentors program as one of the services it provides to students and residents at the College?

No one ever makes it alone. Everyone who has ever achieved career success has done it with the help of others. Mentoring is a focused effort to facilitate career success because there is a rich and meaningful connection formed between a mentor and mentee. The CDC felt that it was crucial to create that space where mentoring relationships could form and thrive, and thus, the development of the Family of Mentors Program. But beyond the positive impact to the individual mentor and mentee, the Family of Mentors Program exists within the context of the larger optometric field that is enhanced as future and current optometrists are nurtured.

What do you hope that students and residents will gain most from their interaction with their mentor?

My hope is that students and residents will make a deep and meaningful connection with a life-long colleague. So often in today’s fast-paced world of text messages, tweets and one-line email responses opportunities to truly get to know someone are lost. The structured Family of Mentors Program creates built-in opportunities for mentors and mentees to get to know one another via monthly discussion prompts that touch on not just optometry, but also on personal goals and aspirations.

How about the mentors, what would you like them to take away from their experience mentoring?

As a former teacher, I know the great satisfaction one receives from helping a young person grow and achieve their goals, so I’m positive our mentors will get similar satisfaction from helping their mentees. And more often than not, it is the mentor who ends up gaining the most from the relationship because he or she has the opportunity to be introspective and giving.

What kinds of mentors are you looking for? Do they have to be in the optometric profession or are you looking to recruit mentors with a variety of professional backgrounds?

We're looking for mentors with the passion to help students and residents here at the College. We want mentors who come from all walks of life and have decided to take on the responsibility of developing a future colleague.

The mentors we're seeking can come from other professional backgrounds because there is a lot that can be learned from someone else’s experience; however, our mentors should be familiar with the optometry student or resident experience and the optometric profession in general. For example, we may have industry partners and consultants who can provide a unique perspective on the optometric career, and that is a very valuable thing.

To find out more about the Family of Mentors Program visit the website

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