A quiet army of BYU alumni serve as volunteers throughout campus. Their assistance can be as varied as giving tours in the Gordon B. Hinckley Alumni and Visitors Center or stepping in to judge for the J. Reuben Clark Law School’s moot court.
Ned L. Maxfield (BS ’85), for example, serves as a mentor for the Marriott School of Management’s Business Career Center. “I want to give students as many real-world experiences as possible,” he says. He comes to campus twice a year and visits with students, giving résumé tips and career advice and participating in mock interviews.
He encourages students to communicate better, especially in an interview or network setting. “When the inevitable ‘Tell me about you’ question arises—which for some is one of the more difficult ones to answer—I want the response to be quick and positive,” he says. He challenges students to create a database of 2,000 contacts before they graduate.
Other alumni mentors in the Marriott School work with students in classes. As part of a business management class, Aaron Purcell (’09) had to select a mentor. “I had a general idea of what interested me, and my mentor informed me about alternate career possibilities,” he says. Even though the class ended, their friendship has not, says Purcell. “We still keep in touch.”
Richard K. Grover (BS ’57) and Patricia Pace Grover (BS ’55) found an opportunity to serve when the Hinckley Center was completed in the summer of 2007. The center needed hosts for visitors, and having served four missions together, which included visitors center experience, they volunteered. “We knew serving as hosts at the Hinckley Center was a natural fit, plus it was a way to stay connected to BYU,” Patricia says.
Through their hosting activities, the Grovers serve students, alumni, and first-time visitors alike. “A father who did not belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints brought his daughter (who was a member) to campus. He was indifferent about her attending BYU. After receiving a campus tour the father said to me, ‘A beautiful feeling exists here—especially in this building [the Hinckley Center],’” Richard says. “I challenged him when he returned home to find out what his daughter already believes in.”
Alumni also serve in room 303 of the J. Reuben Clark Law Building—the Law School’s courtroom. Every spring in this room, moot court convenes, giving first-year law students a chance to make oral arguments before a panel of judges, consisting of a faculty member and two practicing attorneys. “When the law school sent me a letter inviting me to be a judge, I was happy to help,” says Melissa Flores (BA ’94).
Graduating from BYU with her juris doctorate, Flores also experienced moot court as a student. “I remember being terrified standing in front of those judges, but I was also grateful for the feedback they offered,” she says. An advocate of the program, she has participated for several years. “Students thank me for my time, but I benefit because I serve my alma mater and keep my skills sharp.”
Nurse practitioner K. Jay Barton (MS ’00) dedicates 200 to 500 hours annually to mentoring nursing students. “This is a way I can repay those who helped me,” Barton says. “[Students] are masters of the mannequin and loaded with textbook knowledge but don’t have a lot of experience working with patients,” he says. So he helps them get it. “I had a couple of patients with terrible lacerations; I told the students it was time to apply what they learned in suturing class. They gave me the ‘you have got to be kidding’ look.” Barton did the preliminary sutures then had them finish. “The students did an excellent job,” Barton says. “The students I am helping now will be my colleagues later. What could be a better investment?”