cog user

Alumni Mentor Program – Spotlights

Bruins helping Bruins

Now in its 13th year, the UCLA Alumni Mentor Program continues to foster meaningful relationships between UCLA alumni and current UCLA students. The connections made in the program help prepare our students for a successful future and leave a lasting impact on our campus community.


Craig Anthony Rychel '05 and Nathan Skadsen

Craig Anthony Rychel ’05, Nathan Skadsen and Ty Hopp

Based in Washington, D.C., Craig Anthony Rychel ’05 has had a unique mentoring experience. He mentored two UCLA students: Ty Hopp who was studying abroad in South Korea and Nathan Skadsen, who coincidentally, was participating in the UCDC exchange program. Ty and Nathan both requested Craig as their mentor because he was serving as a Foreign Service Officer at the State Department and they were interested in international affairs. […]
Read More

Ty and Craig exclusively connected through email where they maintained frequent communication and spoke about traveling, applying to grad school, Ty’s involvement in the State Department’s Virtual Foreign Service Internship program, and upcoming summer plans.

Nathan and Craig started out connecting over email, but through happenstance, Nathan was accepted to the UCDC program and was able to meet with Craig in person. Nathan and Craig saw each other frequently to discuss Nathan’s interests, academic papers, and his internship on Capitol Hill, and have spent time at a few D.C. hot spots.

“Although a challenge to maintain relationships through email, it actually has worked out much easier because all of us have such hectic schedules,” says Craig, “I’m looking forward to seeing where these two intelligent guys end up.”

Andrea Wong and Walter Watson, M.B.A. '82

Andrea Wong and Walter Watson, M.B.A. ’82

Walter Watson M.B.A. ’82 and Andrea Wong had the opportunity to volunteer in the MLK Jr. Day of Service at Queen Anne Elementary School in Los Angeles as part of the UCLA Alumni Mentor Program. Along with other Bruins, they helped beautify the campus by painting a mural on the playground to inspire children. Watson said, “The mentor activities provide a forum to talk and learn in an environment separated from routine work and school.”
Amanda Gunn, Marian Gabra, Ph.D. '10, and Fanny Garcia

Amanda Gunn, Marian Gabra, Ph.D. ’10, and Fanny Garcia

Marian H. Gabra, Ph.D. ’10, academic counselor with the Academic Advancement Program (AAP), mentored two students: Amanda Gunn and Fanny Garcia.

One of the main reasons why Amanda requested Marian was because Amanda was interested in a career in academic counseling. Marian was able to discuss with Amanda the challenges and rewards of the position, the path towards this type of career, and how to become a competitive candidate for a graduate program in academic counseling. […]

Read More

Fanny requested Marian as her mentor as a result of being a student in Marian’s Literature and Intensive Writing course during the AAP Transfer Summer Program in 2013. Their connection evolved quite organically. Marian says, “Fanny (was) interested in pursuing a graduate degree in either Creative Writing or English. Since I earned a PhD in Comparative Literature, I have been able to guide Fanny through the research, application, and scholarship process.”

Irene Xu and Niloofar Mostofi, M.A. '83

Irene Xu and Niloofar Mostofi, M.A. ’83

Niloofar Mostofi, M.A. ’83 had the following to say about her experience as an alumni mentor:

“Overall I have enjoyed every moment of being a mentor to Irene, giving her feedback/advice on a variety of areas particularly on improving her resume, possible internships areas and career options to consider.”

Read More

Irene describes the benefits of having Niloofar as her mentor:

“Being in the UCLA Alumni Mentor Program has been a tremendously rewarding and fun experience, and has given me the chance to learn about the real-word and get great advice from my mentor.”

Ricardo Campos, Jonathan Tiongco '05, and Veronica Shum

Ricardo Campos, Jonathan Tiongco ’05, and Veronica Shum

Jonathan Tiongco ’05 is an educator and business owner. As a mentor to many students, Jonathan sincerely invests in each student individually, participates in many program events, creates engaging opportunities specific to the students’ interests and encourages dialogue between the mentees.

One of Jonathan’s mentees, Veronica Shum, described her experience as she got ready to graduate and begin working for Teach for America:

Read More

“I am a graduating senior this year who is joining Teach for America in Baltimore after graduation. However, although I am excited about this opportunity, I had also expressed that I was a little bit nervous when speaking with Jonathan. As a result, Jonathan introduced me to one of his friends, Jeff, (a UCLA alumnus that had been a part of the 2010 Teach for America Corps in Baltimore). I was able to ask Jeff about any extra questions I had about the program and it is because of that interaction that I feel much more confident about moving to the other side of the country. Furthermore, Jeff was even able to connect me to another UCLA alumna who is currently doing Teach for America in LA; giving me the opportunity to shadow her for a day, get my feet wet, and see for myself what I can expect during my next two years.”

Nick Versaci and John Masline '13

Nick Versaci and John Masline ’13

John Masculine ’13 describes his favorite moments from the program:

“The highlight of the year for me so far was the time that Nick and I spent running around campus for the UCLA Alumni Mentor Program Scavenger Hunt. It was a great way to have fun, to get to know each other better and to share our passion for UCLA.”

When asked about having John as a mentor, Nick had the following to say:

Read More

“The highlights of the mentorship, for me, have been every time that John and I meet in person. He offers a really helpful perspective on all things UCLA, and he’s taught me a lot about important soft skills like dressing and communicating professionally.”

John Masline ’13 and Nick Versaci were winners of the UCLA Alumni Mentor Program Campus Scavenger Hunt.

Tyler Lanman '14 and Nikki Thareja

Tyler Lanman ’14 and Nikki Thareja

Nikki Thareja met Tyler Lanman ’14 during a scholarship competition and connected quickly, which is why Nikki requested Tyler as her mentor. They both shared an interest in medicine and community service and managed to build a bond over their love for cooking. Tyler provided Nikki with invaluable advice about her major, classes, research opportunities and extracurricular activities while also reminding her to have fun and enjoy and explore LA!
Read More

When asked about her experience, Nikki had this to say:

“I came into UCLA extremely overwhelmed and nervous and Tyler was one of the first people I connected with. Thanks to him, I feel so much more calm and collected now. He has provided me with a vast amount of advice and support, with everything from reading over my clinical applications to helping me with my research resume. It’s always inspirational to talk to him, because whenever I contact him, he’s always doing something new, whether it’s running half marathons, publishing cookbooks, or getting into medical school! I honestly feel like I aspire to be more and more like him every day and I’m so grateful to have his presence and influence in my life!”

Tyler mentioned that the UCLA Alumni Mentor Program has been a wonderful way for him to remain connected to UCLA’s campus while continuing on his legacy through his mentees!