Michele leveraged connections to create a successful Tri-Mentoring program.

Michele Ng Project Coordinator in the Department
of Computer Science

Ten years ago, when Michele Ng, Project Coordinator in UBC’s Department of Computer Science, got involved in putting together the proposal for what is now the largest Tri-Mentoring program at UBC, she was inspired by her boss, who had been practicing mentorship in the department. “My boss at the time, Maria Klawe, spent countless hours mentoring our graduate and undergraduate students. By creating this culture of mentoring within the lab, she created a very strong bond among the students, who still keep in touch with and support each other.”

Since the program launched in 2002, Ng, too, has spent countless hours offering support and advice for participants. The program connects alumni, industry, faculty, technical staff and post-docs with undergraduate and graduate students, and enables mentees to build a network, develop leadership skills, and learn more about the university. Ng says the program has not only had a huge impact on participants, who “really appreciate getting a chance to have one-on-one facetime with an industry/faculty mentor,” it’s also had a big influence on her work in the Department of Computer Science. “The most powerful lesson I have learned from coordinating the Tri-Mentoring program is the power of connecting people. When we wanted to kickstart our alumni, career planning and industry liaison program, we leveraged the connections we had already created through the Tri-Mentoring program. I have also recruited industry and alumni mentors as guest speakers, panelists and workshop facilitators to give students a wider exposure to what is going on in industry and to provide additional technical training.”

Ng’s exceptional commitment to student engagement and alumni relations earned her a 2011 President’s Service Award for Excellence. But she says that, much like the mentorship program itself, her work has always been a team effort. “A lot of the work I do is not based on individual effort. We have committees comprised of students, staff and faculty who set goals and oversee projects. The department I work in is truly amazing. Staff, students and faculty are open-minded, creative, supportive and collegial. I have never worked in a place where people are so supportive and respectful of each others’ work.”

UBC’s focus on people
As one of Canada’s top universities and employers, UBC is committed to being a great place to work, through its Focus on People plan, and a great place for kids, through its Child Care facilities. Its Leave for Change program sends six staff members overseas every year to share their skills through volunteer work in a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

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