Appalachian State University launched a new platform this semester to connect current students with alumni who can answer questions and offer career advice.
It’s a website called Ask a Mountaineer.
Students can use it to submit questions related to their education or career. Then, using artificial intelligence, the program emails the messages to App State graduates who might be best suited to answer.
Assistant Director of Alumni Affairs Savannah Stanbery is the project manager for the program and said students have been using it professionally over the last few months.
“We've had ones that are, ‘I'm a junior studying marketing and I want to move to Chicago and I don't know much about the industry out there, and is anyone in the area? Can I hear more about it?’ Everything from that to reviewing resumes, or alumni that are doing a career change, and wanting some advice from others that are in those industries," Stanbery said.
She said in one instance a graduate student used it to ask questions about going into the shoe design business. They ended up connecting with an alumnus working at Nike.
Stanbery says the new tool is an easy way for students to network and access mentorship and for alumni to support their alma mater.
“And there's obviously so many ways to give back, volunteer, they can give back monetarily, but this is a really easy way to make an impact that doesn't necessarily require you to have to come back to campus," Stanbery said. "Or too, not everyone is able to financially give back. And so I really love the accessibility of this.”
Stanbery says the website, while marketed for current students, can be used by anyone. That includes recent graduates looking to network, and App State faculty searching for speakers for their classes.
Amy Diaz covers education for WFDD in partnership with Report For America. You can follow her on Twitter at @amydiaze.