Monday, January 25, 2021

Jami Tanner (CAS '19) Alumni Mentor and Vanessa Martin (CAS '23) Student Mentee on the CAS Alumni Mentorship Program


Jami Tanner

Jami Tanner (CAS '19)

Can you tell us about your experience acting as an alumni mentor?

I was committed to becoming an alumni mentor because I remember just how overwhelming it was navigating the undergraduate experience as the first person in my family to attend college. In our virtual biweekly meetings, I work with Vanessa on building her professional skills and talking through any confusions or uncertainties. We started off with resume workshopping, mock interviews, networking tips, and building her LinkedIn profile. I try to tailor each session around her current priorities, and there’s always some unstructured time for random questions about school or life. Vanessa is a brilliant student and quick learner, so it’s been really engaging to work together. (It also helps that we have a crazy amount of things in common!)

What advice did you give your student mentee?

I remember feeling nervous in my early years of undergrad because I hadn’t figured out my exact career path yet. I wanted to stress to Vanessa that it’s okay to not have your entire life trajectory finalized at 19 years old. My biggest piece of advice to her was to explore all of her intellectual curiosities during these four years, through different courses and internships, to get clarity on what she does and doesn’t like. I found my career objectives changed over the course of my undergraduate career, as I gained a deeper understanding of the different fields I was considering. There is a lot of trial and error, and that’s a crucial part of the process!

I also encouraged her to join clubs on campus that align with her passions and interests. I met some of my closest, lifelong friends through student organizations. These groups create a strong sense of community and make a large university like NYU feel small and connected. 

Jami Tanner: her story continues

Jami Tanner and classmates at graduation
Jami Tanner and Classmates at Graduation

Can you tell us about your work?

I work at a financial communications agency. A big part of my work involves distilling complex concepts and simplifying them into a digestible message to a broader audience. I support clients at every stage of their communications: developing their core brand messaging, outlining marketing campaigns around specific product launches, maintaining the steady drumbeat of their visibility in the media, and handling the occasional crisis now and then. 

Would you act as a mentor again in the future?

Absolutely! I’ve always been passionate about closing the gap for resources in education. A student’s socioeconomic background or family’s education history shouldn’t inhibit their ability to succeed in academia, but too often, these factors create unique challenges for low-income and/or first-generation students. I really encourage other alumni to consider volunteering their time to mentor. It’s such a meaningful way to give back and make a direct impact on someone’s life.

Vanessa Martin (CAS '23)

Vanessa Martin

What are you studying and what are your professional goals?

I am a first gen sophomore studying psychology in CAS. Professionally I am interested in going one of two ways, either going to law school or getting my masters in a field within developmental or abnormal psychology. 

Can you tell us about your experience having an alumni mentor?

At first I was hesitant because the only info I got about Jami was that she was a Political Science graduate and was now working in Finance, nothing related to what I am studying to become. But after the first meeting I knew why we were paired up, she was also a first gen low income student at NYU, so we understood each other extremely well. I went into this program with a goal in professionalism. I wanted to understand the logistics of networking, interviewing, and how to present myself professionally in general. Jami was the best match for me. By the end of the biweekly meetings we set I had a polished resume, faux interview, and networking advice under my belt.

What advice did you get?

I think the best advice I got from Jami was what to do after my undergraduate degree. I am still torn between law school and a masters in psychology because I have never actively studied law, and there’s no way of knowing what studying law is like without being in the school. She told me that I could graduate with my undergraduate degree and work afterwards as a paralegal or something similar to see if I liked the work before dedicating myself to it. Simple, but the best advice I hadn’t been given until then. I realized that there could be gaps between pursuing higher degrees where I am still figuring myself out. She also was patient with walking me through interview questions and helping me understand how to answer them without answering them for me. It eased my nerves about interviewing and presenting myself professionally in the present and future. I also gained a friend.

Interested in participating as a CAS alumni mentor? Please fill out this form:

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