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October 23, 1997

Mentors aid Pitt students through Generations Together

Mentors aid Pitt students through Generations Together To the University community: Since 1993 the University of Pittsburgh's Generations Together Program has been recruiting retirees to serve as mentors to our Pitt undergraduate and graduate students. To date more than 40 retirees with a variety of professional work skills have given 15,000 hours of service to our students through their work in the Mentors-In-Service To Youth (MISTY) program.

The mentors assist students in a variety of subjects including math, engineering, English, foreign language, chemistry, and physics. They have helped students complete homework, initiate research projects, prepare papers, and solve content related problems. They have enabled students new to our country to integrate into the University and learn about the culture of an American university. The mentors work with faculty, staff and students offering a variety of skills to enhance the learning of our students.

An example of a successful mentor-student-faculty relationship involves Dr. Kenneth M. Goldman, a Westinghouse retiree and mentor in the Materials Science and Engineering Department. For five years, Dr. Goldman has been meeting one day a week with four to five graduate students, assessing their progress and helping to resolve any problems limiting their advancement. His support of the students includes editing written work, asking probing questions about each student's interpretation of results, and coaching each student in the preparation and presentation of oral reports. To the student, it is a means of improving both oral and written skills; to the professor, it has proven to be means of significantly decreasing the faculty time needed to produce finished reports. Finally, Dr. Goldman has had a major positive impact on easing the shock of cultural adjustments for the international students in the group. A highlight of the MISTY program each year is the participation of the mentors in an informal discussion with the Honors College students on topics of interest to the students and the older adult mentors.

The University mentor project is being reorganized this 1997-98 academic year and the first step in the reorganization is to begin a dialogue with faculty and professional staff interested in working with retirees. We currently have retirees who are available to volunteer in several content areas and we are prepared to recruit additional persons to meet the needs of our faculty and students. If you choose to participate in this expanded MISTY program, Generations Together will attempt to identify retirees who fulfill the needs of your students. Mentors will be oriented to appropriate curricula, University schedules, student needs, and will be matched with the faculty and/or staff based upon your requests.

We have an opportunity to enrich the academic environment with the presence of experienced professionals committed to support the learning of our students. Contact us if you would like further information at the University of Pittsburgh Mentors in Service to Youth (MISTY) program.

Sally Newman Executive Director Generations Together University Center for Social and Urban Research Phone: 648-7155 E-mail:

Filed under: Feature,Volume 30 Issue 5

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