Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Mentoring Magic Award

Who guided you in your life’s journey? Did you have a mentor who made a profound impact on your academic life or career? How much do you owe that person for your success? These are questions at the heart of Mentoring Magic: Picking the Card for Your Success, co-authored by Shellie Hipsky, assistant professor of education at Robert Morris University, and her former student, Claudia Armani-Bavaro.

And my answer to those questions: Many people have guided me in life’s journey, including my family, friends, teachers, and coaches. And, YES- I’ve had one specific mentor who has positively impacted every aspect of my life! I owe her many thanks and appreciation.

After talking to Shellie Hipsky about a promotional event that was to be held at the end of January in Sewickely, PA at the Penguin Bookshop, she also invited me to nominate someone who has made an impact on my life for the “Mentoring Magic Award.” I knew exactly who I was going to nominate as soon as I read that e-mail: Dr. Diane Todd Bucci. I have known Diane for almost four years now. She was my professor for the two communications skills courses during my freshman year. After I finished with her class at the end of my freshman year, she encouraged all of us to stay in touch with her by having coffee or lunch on campus when we return in the fall. I took her up on the offer and started having coffee or breakfast with her about once a month, despite our busy schedules. She always found time to listen and offer her advice on my academic and life decisions. This mentoring relationship has blossomed into what I know will be a lifelong friendship. To show Diane my appreciation for all that she has done to support me, I knew that I had to nominate her for the award.

Here’s a short excerpt about what I wrote about Diane Todd Bucci, my mentor:
Dr. Diane Todd Bucci is a professor who has definitely changed my life through inspiring me to become a better person in the classroom, in the workplace, and in my personal life. She has told me that I can do anything that my heart desires and that my mind can imagine. She has shaped me as a person whether she realizes it or not, and I am grateful to have her as a mentor and lifelong friend. My relationship with Diane has definitely increased my self-esteem. She has said that I’m a passionate woman that could help save the world and solve some of society’s problems. When those words come from such a role model as Diane, I feel like it really could come true: I could save one million trees from being burnt in the rainforest or cause one million people to start recycling. She makes me believe that I can and do make a difference in other people’s lives, and I have finally realized I’ve helped change lives throughout my college years.

Just last Friday, Diane and I both received the first “Mentoring Magic Award” at the book signing event in Sewickely. I hadn’t even realized that I would be receiving an award along with Diane. It makes sense, though. As I spoke a few words about how Diane has been such a great mentor throughout my college career, she also spoke about how mentoring students like me has changed her life as well. I think we would agree that we both benefit significantly and learn much from each other through this mentoring relationship.

Mentoring Magic: Picking the Card for Your Success was recently published in September 2010, and the two authors have been promoting it through the book’s web site, as well as a Facebook page!/pages/Mentoring-Magic-Pick-the-Card-for-Your-Success/148268231883062. The authors have been holding events in the Pittsburgh area to promote the book locally as well as globally.

The book shares wisdom gleaned from interviews with more than 100 students and their mentors on the importance of creating and maximizing the impact of these relationships and how to sustain them throughout a career. It helps students learn the tricks of networking with professionals. The book is geared toward students seeking guidance from a mentor beyond the classroom, international students who want to succeed academically, and students who want to study abroad to gain a better cultural understanding of the world.

I highly recommend the book as a guide to finding a mentor for your career. I was lucky enough that I found my mentor early in my college career. It’s never too late to find to yours, though!

-- By Sara Meier, RMU Class of 2011

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