BYU Alumni gathered to give mentorship to students, many of which will compete in the Student Innovator of the Year competition.
Students bring innovative prototypes, the college welcomes industry professionals, and mentors give some of their best insights. All of this happens on one day, at an event called Mentor Alliance Day. This function occurred Thursday, November 17, and provided a unique opportunity for students to interact with alumni who excel in their areas of expertise. This day also marks a step toward the Student Innovator of the Year (SIOY) competition that takes place at the beginning of 2023. With a taste of the excitement, mentors and students alike anticipate the thrill of what’s yet to come.
Mentors connected with one another over breakfast, before spending the rest of the day meeting with students. Then, mentors and students alike made their way to a College Lecture presented by President and Co-founder of Konveyit and the Principle R&D Engineer for Stryker, Brady Woolford. Encouraged to “go out and do,” students left the lecture with the mindset of learning and serving. At the BYU Engineering (BE) Together Mentoring Lunch, students could practice this concept, as they conversed with mentors from various industries.
Calvin Rogers, a senior in mechanical engineering, said, “I was able to meet up with different specialties, such as business or engineering. They really helped me focus my efforts.”
The highlight of the Mentor Alliance Day came at the end, with the two-hour Speed Mentoring event. Within short segments, students presented their innovations and demonstrated their functions to the mentors. Each innovation received critical attention, as mentors offered students steps of improvement. A junior in mechanical engineering, Landon Deutlar, said that the mentoring helped him strengthen the areas he had less experience in.
As students received direction that solved some of their struggles, mentors continued to find themselves impressed. Mentor and investor Brad Wilson spoke with enthusiasm about the different innovations he saw. “These students are smart,” Wilson said. “Some of the technology and robotics are beyond what I’ve ever seen. They’re just so creative, and I love coming here to see all the creative ideas that the students come up with. They’re phenomenal.”
For some students, Mentor Alliance Day multiplied their capabilities as engineers. Longtime mentor, Dr. Angela Trego, actively supports these efforts of BYU. With years contributed to mechanical engineering, and now running her own consulting business, Trego has learned the process for achieving success. She views events like Mentor Alliance Day and SIOY as valuable steps for students moving toward future accomplishments.
“I think this gives students such an amazing pathway to explore—not only their engineering side of things, but maybe even all that creativity and entrepreneurial side of things,” Trego said. “I think it gives them a foot above what everybody else is able to do.”
With the event at a close, teams can now apply mentors' advice and prepare their innovations for the SIOY showcase in February. Many of these same mentors will return as showcase judges, joined by other members of Mentor Alliance, to determine which teams will present their projects in the final competition in March. Regardless of the outcome, Mentor Alliance Day provided a space for students to grow in all aspects of innovating—learning things they may not have been taught in a classroom. Their newfound knowledge can change their futures, as they go out and do.