Mentoring At AFSE

When I've written posts about the stuff I and others are working on to bring more computer science into the K-12 school system, I often hear "let me know how I can help." This post is about how you can help.

The Academy Of Software Engineering (AFSE), located in the Washington Irving Campus near Union Square in Manhattan, has a great program called iMentor. Every AFSE student is paired with a mentor who attends a monthly mentoring session at AFSE. These sessions are highly structured events where the student and mentor get to work together on things and get to know each other. The students and mentors are encouraged to email each other in the off weeks.

Most of the mentors at AFSE come from the tech sector but they do not have to be software engineers and most are not. The main thing is the students get to have a relationship with someone who cares about them and their education. It sounds like so little, but in reality, it is very powerful.

If you want to mentor a student at AFSE, you can apply to do that here. Just make sure to mention AFSE somewhere in the application and you'll be earmarked to mentor at AFSE.

#hacking education

Comments (Archived):

  1. awaldstein

    I mentor a couple of small start up CEOs but haven’t done this one on one with students. Intriguing to me possibly.

    1. William Mougayar

      🙂 Lucky they will be. They will also learn about wine & healthy eating.

      1. awaldstein

        You know me pretty well my friend. I wear my interest footprint on my sleeve you might say!

  2. William Mougayar

    That’s a great initiative. I read somewhere that the mentoring gap is quite large; only 1 in 10 interested adults actually does mentoring. With the “i” factor, that ought to make it even easier since much can be done via email & video conferencing these days.

    1. Jeffrey Hartmann

      I totally agree with you here, I think a remote mentoring situation could be an awesome thing. I would love to instill a love of Richard Feynman and a deep respect for math in those would are interested in becoming Engineers and Scientists. Mix that with some startup style hustling for good measure and I think it would be a great experience for a budding scientist. Lots of scientists are exceptionally bad at selling themselves and their ideas. If we as startup entrepreneurs can do a little to inspire and to change that I think all of us will have something better because of it.

      1. Cam MacRae

        If you are referring to the curse of knowledge you probably have a point. If not, however, I don’t agree with your stereotype: Scientific researchers are constantly selling themselves and their ideas by way of research proposals, grant applications, presentations and reporting hurdles. If you can’t sell your ideas you don’t eat.

        1. Jeffrey Hartmann

          I was speaking about their ability to get the general public to buy into their ideas, not people who are in charge of controlling where grant funds go. It is a damn shame that an athlete can make many times more than a research scientist.Just a thought, I would love to have an army of talented scientists and engineers that could capture the imagination of a country. A dream team if you will, but instead of providing entertainment, they could descend on a community and solve giant real world problems that seem insurmountable. I think our priorities are a little wack personally. We should be cheering on Sunday afternoons not for the Cowboys, Jets, Thunder, (insert your favorite team here) etc. but for a group of pocket protector nerds ‘saving’ the world. Just saying….

          1. Cam MacRae

            Right. I think that’s part curse of knowledge, and part that most basic research doesn’t move the dial very far individually, only in aggregate.

  3. AlexBangash

    Thanks for sharing. I will apply

  4. Dave DeStefano

    My firm (I work there, not mine as in I own it unfortunately) also promotes this initiative also. They don’t necessarily need you to be in tech, and as long as you can contribute and help support these kids, you can do plenty.Without mentors, I have no idea where I would’ve ended up. It’s an amazing thing to pay it forward and do so when I can.Small moments can do big things, you never know what moment you change someone’s life.

  5. Kevink

    iMentor was the first internship I had in college (and their former COO and my mentor Waine Tam, was the one who got me started down the tech path).Fantastic organization that does really amazing work with schools. I’ve been a big fan of more people in tech getting involved with them as mentors–so it’s fantastic to see this push.

  6. Taj Chadha

    Interested in finding out how to get involved with iMentor if you don’t live in NYC. I live in Virginia but would love to get involved.

    1. Johnny Sheeley

      Same here.

  7. JamesHRH

    Great name. Great idea. Wrong horizon.Bright kids in every field – but esp hard sciences – should have this opportunity.

    1. Cam MacRae

      iMentor itself looks pretty broad.

  8. pointsnfigures

    Education is the roughest toughest space to innovate in.

  9. Jeff Schmidt

    I started mentoring at AFSE through iMentor this year and am very impressed with the program and school. The faculty does a great job motivating and educating the kids on career and life skills – much more than I can remember from my high school experience. My mentee is only a freshman, but is already learning python and being coached on resiliency through what they call the growth mentality.I will admit I was a bit nervous at the thought of committing four years to one student, but iMentor has a great plan and makes it a lot of fun. Surely there is a ton of information about the program, but if you are considering it, I would be happy to answer any questions about the program. @schmidt_JB

  10. BillMcNeely

    Fred do you you think something similar for veterans could be arranged. Maybe a partnership with Union Square Ventures TechStars NYC, Brittany Laughlin’s Incline Program and Brandon Friedman formerly in the Obama Administration over in the VA. He had a good piece in Time’s blog today in what can be done to get veterans employable in the tech sector.

  11. Vasudev Ram

    Academy For, not Of? (AFSE vs AOSE)

  12. Dave Pinsen

    Never seen so few comments on a post here.

    1. tony alva

      You didn’t hang out here pre-07. Poseur.

      1. fredwilson


    2. fredwilson

      a lot of the “please go do this” posts get very few comments

      1. Dave Pinsen

        Makes sense.

      2. vruz

        I would join if I was in NYC.

  13. jim

    STEM needs to become STEAM. Without Art, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics become useless.

  14. Philip Brown

    I wish I could do something like this. Hopefully when I finally get to NY I can start.In the mean time, does anyone have any resources for starting something like this from scratch?

  15. Kathleen Barrett

    Was looking for a great mentoring program. Applied, hoping it works out!