Enriching Student Experiences through Mentoring

January is National Mentoring Month, and according to mentoring.org, quality mentoring relationships have powerful positive effects on young people in a variety of personal, academic, and professional situations. Ultimately, mentoring connects a young person to personal growth and development and social and economic opportunity, and empowers them to make smart choices and better life decisions. Mentoring has led to many of our youths increasing their participation in leadership positions, community volunteerism, and becoming mentors themselves.

ND Energy encourages students to look beyond the traditional classroom for opportunities to enrich their educational experiences and become better prepared for suitable professional careers. These connections emphasize the importance of mentoring and cover areas of study that are typically not presented in the classroom. A few of the programs are highlighted here.

  • Student Energy Board (SEB) – The ND Energy SEB is a diverse group of undergraduate and graduate students within the center that supports ND Energy’s goal to provide energy-related education and outreach throughout the Notre Dame and surrounding communities. SEB has many opportunities for leadership and personal development.
  • Energy Studies Minor (ESM) – The ESM is open to undergraduate students in all majors and colleges at Notre Dame and is intended to prepare students to become successful leaders who understand the complexities of our energy challenges. Students draw from technical and non-technical resources to learn how to help move our country and the world toward a more sustainable energy future.
  • What’s It Really Like?: Energy Careers – This program provides a unique opportunity for students to join small group sessions for informal conversations with professionals in the energy field to gain a better understanding of various topics and careers in energy. Similar programs have focused on energy research where students have met with Notre Dame faculty to learn about their roles in research laboratories.
  • Vincent P. Slatt Fellowships for Undergraduate Research in Energy Systems and Processes – Through a competitive application process, Slatt fellowships are awarded annually to undergraduate students who have research interests in developing new energy technologies and improving America’s energy future. Research projects range from a means to improving the use of fossil, nuclear, and alternative energy sources for power or fuels production, to developing more efficient transportation and energy utilization systems, to formulating policies and infrastructure to support new technologies.

In a recent student spotlight, Patricia Kay (’17), an undergraduate student participating in the Student Energy Board, Energy Studies Minor, and in Dr. Amy Hixon’s research lab as a Slatt research scholar, summed up her experiences by saying, “Working in the Hixon lab was above and beyond anything I could have learned in the classroom. I received my own project assignment and was introduced to instruments that most students only see in books.” Patricia will be representing the Hixon Research Group and presenting her research project funded by the Slatt Fellowship program during the upcoming Undergraduate Sustainability Research and Education Expo, which is another excellent opportunity for students to demonstrate their leadership and empirical capabilities.


Ugs Expo Small

The Undergraduate Sustainability Research and Education Expo will be held on Tuesday, January 31, from 6:30 to 8:00 PM in the LaFortune Student Center, Ballroom. The expo provides a one-stop-shop for students to learn about research and educational opportunities in energy, the environment, and other sustainability studies, matching their interests with programs at Notre Dame and throughout the local community. Potential mentors, such as faculty seeking research assistants, educators seeking new students, and community leaders and representatives seeking interns, will be on hand to discuss how students can get involved. (Read about this event in The Observer!)

The Expo is sponsored by the Campus Coalition on Research and Education for Sustainability (CREST). Current members of the coalition are the Center for Sustainable Energy at Notre Dame (ND Energy), the Environmental Change Initiative (ECI), GLOBES at the Reilly Center, and the Minor in Sustainability. Questions about the event may be directed to Barbara Villarosa at bvillaro@nd.edu.

CREST is a core group of individuals affiliated with Notre Dame research initiatives and education programs who seek common ground on the topics of energy, environment, and sustainability. The primary goals of the coalition are to promote campus networking amongst faculty, postdoctoral, and student groups, to identify shared research interests within these various groups, to foster and build cross-college interactions and relationships, and to spur new or improved interdisciplinary research and classroom curricula.

ND Energy is a University Research Center whose mission is to build a better world by creating new energy technologies and systems and educating individuals to help solve the most critical energy challenges facing our world today. For more information, visit the ND Energy website at energy.nd.edu or contact Barbara Villarosa, Business and Communications Program Director, at bvillaro@nd.edu or 574-631-4776.