Mary Koerperick, ’77 BSPh, is a mentor for a handful of current University of Iowa College of Pharmacy students. “It’s a great way for the students to form a network, and to keep us ‘old’ people young!” said Koerperick. “I consider them my Rx kids.”
Indeed, mentoring has value to both in the relationship. UI College of Pharmacy students are paired in their first year with peer, faculty, and professional mentors. The mentees learn from their mentors’ experience, advice, and can potentially plug into their professional networks. People with strong mentor relationships report greater understanding, job satisfaction, and career guidance.
Through emails and other forms of communication, Koerperick has shown her mentees the ropes from senior rotations to possible job opportunities in a specific geographic area.
Mentors are also rewarded by hearing fresh ideas, and knowing they are part of their mentees’ success. “I would love to stay in touch with my mentees after they graduate,” said Koerperick, a member of the 1885 Society, a recognition club for the college’s most loyal and engaged alumni and friends.
Since mentor-mentee pairs can decide for themselves how often to meet and for how long, just about any type of interaction can be planned. Each year, the college offers at least one opportunity for mentors and mentees to connect in person. What can’t be planned, however, is the variety of unforeseen positive, lifelong effects mentorship can provide.