Jacob (Jack) Seidman, PE '49CE, left, discusses the mentoring program with Andrea Nunez, PE '97, president of Engineering School Alumni Board of Directors, and Dr. Daniel Dicker.
After CCNY helped them to successful engineering careers, 20th Century alumni are giving today’s students a push toward similar success in the 21st.
One of the pioneers is Jack Seidman, a ’49 Civil Engineering (CE) graduate who closed his general contracting business in the early 1990s. With some time on his hands, he thought he would like to repay his alma mater for the education he got here. In 1993 he requested a meeting with CCNY Engineering School Dean Dr. Charles Watkins and the CE department chairman, Dr. John Fillos, to determine it it was feasible to start a pilot alumni-student support or mentoring program. The program would be parallel to but not interfere with the college’s instructional mandate. It was agreed that the idea had merit and that it could be pursued with aid from the CE student-faculty advisor, Dr. Ed Reitz.
Two years later, Dr. Dan Dicker, a 1951 CE graduate, and a group of classmates decided independently to act in a similar fashion and were advised that a pilot program was in operation. In 1995, the Civil Engineering Alumni Group was formed by Seidman, the Dicker group and several other civil engineering graduates of the 1950s. CEAG then moved ahead with its plans to offer aid to all civil engineering students.
CEAG meets with student leaders early each school year to plan its programs, which include:
- Funding grants for worthy students in need.
- Conducting field trips to construction sites and design offices.
- Helping students obtain full-time, part-time and summer employment.
- Preparing students for job interviews by holding mock interview sessions and critiquing their resumes.
- Holding workshops for engineering students interested in careers such as law and entrepreneurship, and discussing ethical questions that engineers face.
- Bringing to the classroom, when invited by faculty, experienced professionals to discuss employment conditions, including salaries for entry-level positions, career paths and job satisfaction, and
- Supplying speakers for student functions.
The Engineering School Alumni Board of Directors praised CEAG’s success and its president, Dr. Dicker, asked Seidman to expand his efforts to the other disciplines. When Frank Kern ME ’70 heard of the program, he wanted to recruit alumni for similar programs in the school’s other departments. “If you, as a CCNY engineering alumni, would like to help mentor students, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org,” Kern said. “We will be striving to build upon the successful CEAG model to bring alumni mentoring to the other engineering disciplines at City.”
The CE mentoring group asks that other civil engineers who are interested in mentoring students get in touch with Jack Seidman at email@example.com.