Business professionals give students real perspective

molivastuds1.jpgAfter last year’s amazing success of the students in DECA competition, I am truly committed to the International Telementor Program (ITP).  Even though my students are really capable and committed to the projects they work on, the mentor expertise in the business world brings them a perspective they cannot get anywhere else at this point in their lives.

molivastuds2.jpgLast year our student groups enjoyed an unprecedented level of success and much of this was due to the input of working business professionals in a variety of industries.  Timberland High School DECA qualified three written projects to the international level of competition.  One project in Business Operations Research made it to the final round of 16 and another group finished top 10 in the world!  Though the students were exceptional writers, they would never have achieved this level of success without willing mentors.

I was truly humbled that so many professionals were willing to make a commitment of time and their knowledge to inspire and help the next generation of business leaders.  Many of the mentors made huge impacts on the lives of my students outside of the project mentoring process.  Through common interests and online conversation, my students were also able to explore some career areas and gain insight into what is required to be successful in the business world.

I am setting the bar high again this year because I know that the mentors in this program will help my students reach their goals.  If you’re a teacher, I encourage you to get involved with ITP so you can experience the value of this program yourself.

by Michael Oliva, Timberland High School business teacher, Wentzville, Missouri
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Mentoring, networking recommended as way to better job

kylepanelMy oldest son, Kyle, is learning the value of networking. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree two years ago and has struggled since then to find a “real” job. His world is beginning to change, however. After serving on a panel moderated by the director of AOL Jobs, he’s now blogging for that online resource and receiving advice from noteworthy career coaches and others. Their recommendations include seeking out a mentor and emphasize the importance of building a professional network. While these strategies aren’t new to Kyle given that his mom works for ITP, which is all about mentoring and building professional networks, I believe hearing this wisdom from outside sources increases its value.

I invite you to read about his journey and what others say about it. If you’re already serving as an ITP mentor, I hope his story underscores the importance of your volunteering in that capacity. If you’d like to learn how to impact students’ lives by mentoring, get in touch. I’d love to talk with you.

Kim Sharpe,



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Humans need the ice bucket challenge and other thoughts about mentoring

ice-bucketWhen I started this program in 1995, I planned to get it going, staffed and launched, and then continue my engineering work at Hewlett-Packard. Twenty years later, here I am with more passion for the program and its benefits than ever before. Continue reading

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When you give a student a mouse…

Mouse in a maze - STEM

7th-grade students test how food dye affects a mouse’s navigation skills

…they discover how food additives affect physical and cognitive performance. This is just one of the lessons learned by  students in Marnie Steele’s Nutrition Science class. Through the International Telementor Program, Steele enlisted the help of professionals working in the health and wellness fields to mentor her students on their year-long journey to understand where food comes from, how growing and processing techniques impact its quality, how food and beverage choices impact health and more. Read more.

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Did you ever have a mentor? Pay it forward


Katy Piotrowski of Career Solutions Group

This column ran on Sunday, July 20, 2014, in The Coloradoan, a daily newspaper in Fort Collins, Colorado. ITP loves this type of endorsement and we hope it inspires you to pay it forward. We invite you to view the list of new projects and pre-register to mentor a student this fall.

Back when I worked in high-tech marketing and was just a newbie, a more experienced colleague pulled me aside one day and said, “Be sure to proof the headlines and phone numbers in your materials. Many people forget to do that.” Continue reading

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Picture-perfect college and career planning

Powerpoint template for scientific posters (Swarthmore College)Powerpoint template for scientific posters (Swarthmore College)At the end of each school term, projects supported by the International Telementor Program come to a close and students present what they learn to an authentic audience, including professionals, teachers and their peers.

One Parkway High School student in Bossier City, Louisiana, shared what she learned in her Career Exploration class about becoming an attorney. Continue reading

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Flood zones and student motivation recover when students engage in authentic work


Megan and Molly

By David Neils

When students know they’re tackling real issues, they’ll put in real effort. Molly and Morgan, two 6th-grade students at Trail Ridge Middle School had an opportunity to tackle a real issue recently–the Colorado flood of fall 2013 that ravaged their community of Longmont, Colorado. Continue reading

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Mentoring helps professionals gain insight, impact students’ lives

Bev Cross

Bev Cross

The International Telementor Program pairs students throughout the world with professionals from companies like Hewlett-Packard, Inc., Google and MasterCard who work with them on a variety of projects ranging from college and career planning to wetland conservation and wildlife habitat restoration to marketing plan development for local businesses.

Since David Neils founded ITP in 1994, more than 47,000 students have benefited from the relationships they build with volunteer mentors Continue reading

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Planting business seeds and growing change agents

trophygirlcropLynne Chrismer, marketing teacher at Holt High School in Wentzville, Missouri, could be called a high-tech farmer. She continuously plants seeds of business savviness and harvests crops of students who are change agents for the world.

With support from the International Telementor Program and professionals around the world who voluntarily work with students to help them learn the ins and outs of business, Chrismer’s students earn high marks and win DECA competitions at state, regional and national levels.

Read why Chrismer partners with ITP and learn some of her secrets for growing a healthy crop of future leaders.

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Students get birdseye view of nesting birds

kestrelStudents from Westview Middle School in Longmont, built a nesting box for kestrels right before their spring break. The work was part of their International Telementor Program-supported conservation project. Jason Helmus, their teacher, provided some help as well. The nesting box is equipped with a WiFi camera and located in the backyard of ITP Founder and President David Neils. It offers an up-close and personal view of how birds keep house and prepare to expand their families. Take a look!

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