URI alumni mentoring program gives job-seekers a boost

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KINGSTON, R.I.- February 26, 2013- Finding a job can be hard work, which is why the University of Rhode Island offers an alumni mentoring program filled with people of every background and job type who understand the grueling process.

Alumni mentors, who serve in a military branch, are part of the LGBT community, or who have worked overseas in a multitude of fields can be found on the URI alumni mentoring homepage by simply entering a few keywords and clicking a button. The URI Alumni Mentor home page can be found at http://career.uri.edu/alumni_mentor.shtml.

“Students can also search for mentors by name, company or major. However, the program is not just for students to talk to alumni, it’s also for alumni to communicate with each other,” said Marie Geary, an alumni career advisor at URI.

Mentors have options as well when specifying how they would like to be contacted and how often.

“I rarely hear from the alumni mentors or the students. The program is private for the most part, unless an issue arises,” said Geary.

Dr. Cyrus Agarabi has been an alumni mentor for three years. He has four degrees from URI: a doctor of pharmacy degree, master’s degrees in pharmaceutical sciences and manufacturing, system’s engineering and a doctorate in pharmaceutical sciences. Agarabi is now a senior regulatory researcher at the Food and Drug Administration. Although he works in Silver Spring, Md., Agarabi stays in touch with URI pharmacy professors and administrators who pass his contact information to students.

“We utilize our connections with the students and the University when looking for interns who can thrive in mentored environments that enhance their professional development, making them strong candidates for future employment,” said Agarabi.

When Agarabi was a pharmacy student, he completed a rotation in The Division of Drug Information at the Food and Drug Administration, which sparked his interest in the regulatory aspects of the pharmaceutical work industry, leading to his job today.

Catharine Catucci is an alumni mentor who graduated in 1998 with a bachelor of arts degree in communication studies. She now manages the fourth and fifth floors of the Macy’s in Herald Square, which is the second biggest tourist attraction in New York City. Eight sales managers and four merchandising managers report to her on a daily basis. Catucci also works directly with Macy’s corporate headquarters, helping to plan and organize events for their largest store.

“When I was coming into work the other day, I almost bumped into Tommy Hilfiger,” said Catucci.

Before managing Macy’s, Catucci was in charge of hiring and recruiting at Talbots in Rhode Island, which allowed her to offer opportunities to URI students and alumni she mentored. Now that she is in New York City, she mostly communicates to students and alumni through email and by phone.

“People send me their cover letters and resumes and I am happy to look them over and offer advice,” said Catucci. “Helping URI students find, not just a job, but a career they love, is important to me because attending the University was one of the best experiences of my life.”

Alex Couture is a senior program manager for Google’s Display Advertising team. They are responsible for the DoubleClick suite of products used by online publishers to deliver advertising on their websites. Couture majored in finance at the University of Rhode Island, with a minor in political science, and later received a master’s degree in Computer Information Systems at Baruch College.

“I became an alumni mentor because I believe almost every young person needs help transitioning after graduation. Although college teaches you how to be an adult, it doesn’t necessarily teach you how to act in the career world,” said Couture.

URI students and alumni who want to find a job outside of New England may have a hard time doing so with local contacts, according to Couture.

“Because I work in New York City, I can give advice to students who are looking in the metro area,” said Couture. “I’m passionate about the University, so I’m giving the help I wish I had when I was there.”

For additional information, Marie Geary can be contacted by email, mrgeary@uri.edu, or by phone (401) 874-9404.

Pictured Above: URI GRADUATES: Dr. Cyrus Agarubi is a senior regulatory researcher at the FDA. Cathy Catucci is a manager of the Macy’s in Herald

Square, New York City. Alex Couture is a senior program manager for Google’s Display Advertising team.

Victoria Antonelli, a senior journalism major and intern at the URI Communications and Marketing Department, wrote this press release.