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springboard mentors double down on giving back

Springboard Mentors Double Down on Giving

3 minute read | January 31, 2019
T.J. DeGroat

Written by:
T.J. DeGroat

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Mentorship is a cornerstone of the Springboard experience—and for good reason. Research shows that learning with a mentor not only helps you build skills faster, but also enables career growth. And our own students’ experiences reflect that.

Our mentors receive a monthly per-student honorarium, but some donate their pay to charities through Springboard. Last month, we made our most recent donation on their behalf, giving $11,513 to a diverse group of nonprofit organizations doing important work around the world. Among the charities our mentors supported:

  • The Malala Fund, founded by Malala Yousafzai and her father, Ziauddin, in 2013 to champion education for girls around the world, with a focus on Afghanistan, Brazil, India, Lebanon, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Turkey.
  • The Helen Keller Foundation, formed in 1988 by Helen Keller’s family and a group of scientists striving to “prevent blindness and deafness by advancing research and education.”
  •, launched in 2013 by twin brothers Hadi and Ali Partovi to expand access to computer science in schools and increase participation by women and underrepresented minorities (who now make up a majority of the program’s students).
  • The Mahindra Foundation, USA, established in 2007 to provide a platform for Americans and Indians residing in the U.S. to support the education of girls in India.

“These donations are an opportunity for the Springboard mentor community to raise funds for organizations they are passionate about,” said Chirag Mahapatra, a mentor for Machine Learning Engineering Career Track students. “I chose my organization because I had volunteered with Hands on Bay Area in the past and have been very impressed by them.”

“For me, mentoring is about giving back to the data science community,” said Dingchao Zhang, who mentors Introduction to Data Science students. “Donating my mentor honorarium is a way to continue in that spirit.”

Our mentors, most of whom are working full-time or equivalent jobs, dedicate different amounts of time to Springboard. Some work with one student at a time, while others take on nearly full-time roles guiding as many as a dozen of our online learners. All are remarkable people (only 1 in 12 who apply are accepted) who are passionate about their fields and about giving back.

Meet some of our awesome mentors:

Meg and Alex Clayton are a married design duo who not only work together in user experience at Whirlpool Corporation, but who also mentor Springboarders who are learning UX skills. “Teaching and mentoring students is something I’ve been passionate about for a while,” Meg said. “I love Springboard because it allows me to keep my day job, while in the evenings, I get to support and advise others just starting in the field.”

David Yakobovitch is an enterprise data scientist and an AI instructor who has spent the past few years working with the Software Carpentry Foundation, teaching nonprofit data science and computer science workshops to postdoc students. Through this program, he’s taught at Rutgers, NASA, and Harvard Medical School. He’s a popular Springboard mentor because of real-world advice like these tips he recently shared about creating a data science portfolio.

Suzy DeLine earned a drama degree from Northwestern University, but realized that directing and producing—calling the shots—was more fun than performing. So she set her sights on business school and is now a content strategist and marketing manager with more than 15 years of digital marketing experience. The personal connection mentorship provides “is profoundly motivating,” Suzy said. “To know someone is expecting your best makes you bring it.”

Srdjan Santic has been a Springboard mentor since the end of 2015. He’s a passionate proponent of mentorship and a powerful evangelist of Springboard’s data science courses. “Mentoring at Springboard has, by far, been singularly the most fulfilling experience of my professional life,” he said.

Here’s what some of our students have to say about their experiences with Springboard mentors:

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Does mentor-guided learning appeal to you? Find out more about the Springboard learning experience today!

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About T.J. DeGroat

T.J. is a writer and editor waging war against unnecessary capitalization. You can follow him on Twitter @tjdegroat.