Our co-founder Gino Fiore launched a new year of the connectID mentorship program at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). connectID supports Industrial Design students in getting a head start on forming a professional network by connecting them with Chicago-based designers to work on their professional development.
Gino has been a planning team member and an active mentor since 2013. Similarly, Erik Barraza, Experience Designer at Traceable Change, has been a mentor for several years, helping students prepare for post-graduation. Both Gino and Erik were a part of this program as undergraduate students at UIC and value the opportunity to contribute to their alma mater.
connectID has many moving parts and is made possible by the generous support of the volunteer mentors, UIC School of Industrial Design, UIC Innovation Center, planning team, and the driven students who balance the program with their courses.
The program works by pairing one mentor with one to two mentees for an academic year. They meet regularly to work on resume and portfolio creation, networking, and job application techniques. In addition to group meetings, the planning team hosts lectures and mixer events to foster a sense of community and to energize members throughout the year.
The most recent connectID event (pictured here) was the 2019-2020 kickoff held at the UIC Innovation Center. The evening started by fueling people with pizza and candy, introductions and a short refresher for those new to the program. Then attendees were treated to a light-hearted improv exercise to have some fun and begin building bonds. The night was wrapped by an in-depth co-design workshop to generate ideas for community events for the year.
The connectID community is enthusiastic for the start of the 2019-2020 program year and hopes to build lasting relationships and prepare students for landing summer internships or their first jobs.