Peer Mentor Program | Guest Blogger


The lucky thing about having an older sibling is that it often feels as though you have a mentor by your side, especially when you end up going to the same college. They take the time to show you around, introduce you to new people, help you pick out your classes, and even advice you on which professors to take –and which to completely avoid. However, if you are the older sibling, or if you’re going to a completely different school, then it’s up to you to figure out the ropes and succeed. That is unless you take advantage of your school’s Peer Mentor Program.

UMass Lowell’s MSB Peer Mentor Program pairs up freshmen and transfer students with other MSB upperclassmen. All you need to do, whether you wish to be a mentor or a mentee, is to sign up. The only requirement after signing up is that you and your mentor/mentee meet up at least once a week, and if the mentee feels comfortable enough, then the once a week requirement is no longer mandatory. The MSB Peer Mentor Programs offers various, fun events for all mentors and mentees as a way for everyone to become familiar with one another in a casual and comfortable environment. These events range from Bowling, grabbing a bite to eat, and even Apple Picking!

The events truly help you ease into the college life, especially when you have a great mentor by your side. At the end of the day, you often become good friends with your mentor/mentee. Conversations about your personal life come up just as often as conversations about your academic life. With the Peer Mentor Program, it often feels as though you’ve found a sibling, a mentor, and a friend.

If you’re interested in getting a Peer Mentor or would like to be a Peer Mentor to an incoming transfer student or freshman, please contact either Professor Deborah Finch ( or me, and we will pair you with a mentor/mentee.

Nandana Penukonda

Spring 2015 Open Advising

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Freshmen ONLY: All sessions will take place in the business computer lab in Pasteur 205. Monday, March 23rd at12:30pm – 2:00pm & Wednesday, March 25th at 11:00am – 12:30pm

Sophomores ONLY: All sessions will take place in the business computer lab in Pasteur 205. Tuesday, March 31st at 2:30pm – 4:00pm & Wednesday, April 1st at 1:30pm – 3:00pm

Junior/Senior All sessions will take place in the business computer lab in Pasteur 205. They are scheduled based on concentrations.

MGMT: April 7th at 4:00pm – 5:00pm & April 15th at 10:00am – 11:30am

POMS: April 10th at 9:00am – 10:30am & April 15th at 11:00am – 12:30pm

MIST: April 10th at 1:00pm – 2:30pm

MKTG: April 6th at 12:00pm – 1:30pm & April 10th at 2:00pm – 3:30pm

ACCT: April 8th at 10:00am – 11:30am & April 14th at 10:00am – 11:30am

ENTR: April 14th at 4:00pm – 5:00pm & April 15th at 2:00pm – 3:30pm

The Correct Way to Use

Disclaimer: Anything written in this blog represents the opinions of the author, and no one else. Each blog is written lightly, and is not intended to offend any of the mentioned businesses, locations, students, or staff.

Rate My Professor
is a college student’s guide to making his/her course schedule. Everyone races for the professors rated an “A” (meaning they are a great professor) or a chili pepper (meaning the teacher is “hot”). As useful as the site can be, there are several tricks to making it more reliable, as listed below.

  1. Give helpful advice. Don’t just say what you like or don’t like about a professor. Instead, say something helpful to future students. For example, instead of writing: “This professor gives too many quizzes. She sucks!” consider writing: “This professor always quizzes on the reading, but if you read the assigned chapters, you’ll do well.”
  2. Pay attention to spelling and grammar. I recognize that this sounds silly, but consider this for a minute: If a student doesn’t care enough to at least try to write properly when reviewing a professor, is their review really reliable? You don’t know this person, so far all you know, they wrote just as improperly in the course that they are reviewing. This may have earned them a poor grade, resulting in their negative post on the site.
  3. Take what you read with a grain of salt. It is important to pay close attention to the number of students who have reviewed a professor. If the instructor only has a few reviews, you can’t always count on them. Alternatively, if there are many reviews, you can usually trust the grade that the teacher has received. Additionally, the majority of students that write reviews are ones who either loved or hated the instructor. Make sure to consider that the students who are in the middle ground aren’t often accounted for on the site.

Students and professors alike don’t doubt that Rate My Professor is a useful tool. It is a resource for students to learn about their peers’ views on professors they haven’t had yet, and it is a way for professors to learn about what students like and dislike about their course. By following the previous three tips, you may be more satisfied with the information collected by Rate My Professor.

Sick of Hearing About DifferenceMaker?

Well, too bad! Read below to learn what’s really going on at DifferenceMaker Central!

What is the DifferenceMaker Program?

DifferenceMaker is an entrepreneurial program on campus. Its main office, DifferenceMaker Central, is located in Suite 012 in Lydon Library on North Campus. This space is available for UMass Lowell students and recent alumni to use to brainstorm and develop their entrepreneurial ventures.


The DifferenceMaker program sponsors specific programs and activities that support students in solving big problems through innovative and entrepreneurial action. Whether or not students enter DifferenceMaker competitions, they are encouraged to get involved with the program to develop their innovative thought processes. Undergraduate students, graduate students, and recent UMass Lowell alumni of all disciplines are invited to participate in the program’s events and competitions.


Why am I telling you this?

In September, I began working as a co-op employee for the program. Before working for the program, I was a little suspicious about what all the hype was about. I had seen all of their posters around campus and had heard about their events, but I still didn’t really understand what the program was or why it was promoted all over campus.

My suspicion has since been put to rest. DifferenceMaker is more than just a couple of competitions for engineering students to win money to pursue their entrepreneurial ideas. It is an all-inclusive program on campus that promotes UMass Lowell students to be DifferenceMakers in their every day life. It encourages all students to be innovative in their chosen field and gives them the tools to pursue their ideas.

What’s happening this semester?

On April 15, 2015The UMass Lowell Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship will host the Third Annual DifferenceMaker Idea Challenge. The goal of the Idea Challenge is to engage students in creative and innovative problem solving around major issues that affect our region and our future.

Student teams are asked to develop real solutions to real problems. They are then coached and guided to present a concept proposal for a needed service, product or business that addresses a real world challenge such as climate change, access to health care, support for the arts, cyber security, hunger, regional unemployment, etc.

$35K-50K in prizes will be awarded to 10 UMass Lowell student teams that present the best ideas and strategies for addressing these timely social and business challenges.


Learn More & Connect with DifferenceMaker

To learn more about the program, you can Like them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter, or Instagram. Additionally, you can attend any of their spring workshops (for free!) and/or apply to their Spring $35K Idea Challenge.

UMass Lowell Alumna is Fulfilling Her Dream!

Ever feel like quitting your job? Or, traveling the world? Or, starting your own business? UMass Lowell alumna Taylor Kloss did all of these in the course of three months.

Taylor earned her B.A. in Business Marketing from UMass Lowell. While at the university, she served as a co-captain of the university’s field hockey team when they won the National Champion for the first time. After graduating, Taylor worked as a Marketing and Sales Manager for the world’s largest live family entertainment company, Feld Entertainment. Taylor did a lot of soul-searching and decided that after six years with Feld, it was time to take a big leap of faith. She left her job in the spring of 2013 to travel and discover new opportunities.


Taylor returned to Massachusetts with a passion to help small businesses rule the world! By combining her experience, zest for new challenges, and passion for helping others, Taylor created Creative TK Consulting in the fall of 2013 to help small businesses.

Taylor’s work at Creative TK Consulting includes:

  • Creative project planning and implementation
  • Graphic design
  • Social media management
  • Email marketing
  • Event planning
  • Partnership outreach
  • Press relations
  • Blog design and content creation
  • Photography

Last August, I met Taylor at a planning event for UML’s Homecoming Weekend. I began working for her shortly after. I assist her with social media management, proofreading, and other marketing projects.


What I love about working with Taylor is the one-on-one time that she gives her clients. She sits down with them regularly to learn about their goals and desires and makes a marketing plan based on their conversations. Furthermore, Taylor’s days at work are filled with excitement. She works with clients in Boston, Portsmouth, Newburyport, and other locations that she gets to visit regularly throughout the week. Because she is her own boss, she has the privilege of making her own schedule and gets to do a little bit of everything, which requires her to be flexible and willing to learn.

While you are at UMass Lowell, I suggest pushing yourself to reach out to alumni. This can mean going to networking events at the university, or reaching out to Career Services or the Alumni Office. UMass Lowell alumni want to help you throughout your academic and professional journeys. Speaking from a student’s point-of-view and my own experience, there is nothing more inspiring than seeing someone, who was in your shoes at UMass Lowell, succeed at doing what they love.

Who are Those Students Walking Around in Suits?

Disclaimer: Anything written in this blog represents the opinions of the author, and no one else. Each blog is written lightly, and is not intended to offend any of the mentioned businesses, locations, students, or staff.

This year, I have had the privilege of being a UMass Lowell Student Alumni Ambassador. Through the Student Alumni Ambassador Program, I have had the opportunity to spend time with and network with a variety of alumni, develop my interpersonal and professional skills, and learn what it means to be a future UMass Lowell alumna.

The first goal of the Student Alumni Ambassador Program is to foster and promote the development of relationships between alumni and the entire University community. Specifically, the Program creates relationships between alumni and students, faculty and staff through University events.

The second goal of the Program is to connect current students with the Office of Alumni Relations and University Advancement. The Office of Alumni Relations works to engage, connect, and reconnect alumni and students to create a strong UMass Lowell community all around the world. University Advancement creates a culture of engagement and philanthropy for alumni, parents, friends, corporations, foundations, faculty, staff and others in support of UMass Lowell by building, cultivating and stewarding long-lasting relationships to secure private financial support to advance the mission of the University as it becomes a world-class institution.


Currently, there are about twenty Student Alumni Ambassadors. All of the Ambassadors meet at least once a month for a two-hour session of briefings and workshops. There are several University events that the Ambassadors are required to attend throughout the year. In addition to the required events, Ambassadors are invited to other exclusive events where they meet and interact with alumni.

If you are interested in becoming a Student Alumni Ambassador, applications will be available online here in January 2015 (only a couple days away!). Feel free to reach out to me with specific questions regarding the Program by commenting on this blog or emailing me at or emailing the organizers of the Program at

MSB & DCU Innovation Contest 2014

The DifferenceMaker Manning School of Business and Digital Federal Credit Union Innovation Competition took place last night, December 3rd, from 6-9pm in the Saab ETIC Atrium on North Campus.

The judges were Jim Regan, President and CEO of Digital Federal Credit Union, David Araujo, VP of Information Systems at Digital Federal Credit Union, Scott Latham, Interim Dean of the Manning School of Business, and Holly Butler, the Director of the DifferenceMaker Program. Professor Steven Tello, Associate Vice Chancellor of Entrepreneurship and Economic Development of UMass Lowell, MC’ed the event.


“The Bears”, made up of team members and business students Joseph Baglio and Meghan Foster (another MSB blogger), won the top prize of $500 each, in addition to $200 for making it the finals. The team won a total of $1,200 in prize money. They pitched an idea for a subsection budgeting banking system app for DCU. This app will help DCU clients budget their money into different categories to promote organization and assist visual learners.

Congratulations, The Bears! You both did a terrific job of representing the Manning School of Business at the DifferenceMaker Competition. Good luck pursuing your entrepreneurial venture!

A Beginners Guide to Social Media

social-media-appsIt is no surprise that social media is one of the most popular forms of marketing right now. Although that is the case, many of us struggle to stay on top of changes in the social media scene. Below are tips, regarding hashtags, links and content, for social media beginners to create effective posts on Facebook & Twitter.

Hashtag | The hashtag is used to mark keywords or phrases on social media platforms. It links users who are talking about the same topics. It can be used on Twitter, Instagram & Facebook. To increase the value of your hashtags, follow the advice below

  • Limit your hashtags to 1-3 per post. The affect is minimized when they are used in excess. Your posts will appear more relevant & professional if you maintain a maximum or 3 per post.
  • Teach your audience how to use your hashtag. Believe it or not, hasthtags are a part of your brand. In order for your hashtags to be useful & hopefully used by your audience, you need to teach your audience how to use your hashtag. Do this by being consistent with the hastags that you use. For example, if your Organization’s name is Support Our Students, will you always write #supportoutstudents or #SOS? Or both? Whatever you decide, be consistent.
  • Stay in tune with what’s current. In order for your posts to reach your audience, you should try to be as “hip” as you can while staying true to your content and brand. For example, if it’s the holidays, if there’s a huge sports game that day, or if there’s a social issue that’s trending on social media, try to make your posts relevant to that. Even though this requires more work, because you have to stay up-to-date with what’s trending on social media, it will ultimately result in more effective posts.
  • Avoid being overly specific. Hashtags such as #imalwayslate #ilikecrackersonmondays, don’t get a lot of traction. If your specific hashtag has a purpose, such as trying to connect with a certain niche or because you are trying to be intentionally over-the-top, then you may use it. For everyday posts, though, try to stay away from them.

Links | Links are wonderful for social media. Viewers respond well to them, and if people are viewing the link you are sharing, this can be extremely resourceful for you. If you track your social media or review analytics, you can see this. Below are a couple tips to get the most our of the links you share.

  • Erase the link URL on Facebook. This is a Facebook trick that a surprisingly large amount of FB users still do not know. After you post a link into your FB post, you can delete the actual URL. Make sure that you allow the link box to load in the draft of your post, and then you can delete the URL of the link, and press “post”. This way, your posts look seamless & professional.
  • Personalize the link image on Facebook. After you have posted a link the draft of your FB post, you can customize the image that shows. You can do this by clicking the bottom of the photo where it reads “Upload Image” usually in pale white writing.
  • Shorten the link for Twitter. Naturally, we all struggle with advertising on Twitter because you only have so much room to write your message. This can make it challenging to include links in your posts, because links take up so much room. In order to shorten a link, you can (and should) sign up for bitly ( which is a website that shortens your links for you. Super cool.

Content | Prose is not appreciated on social media as it is in other settings. If you want to share more than a paragraph, do it through a blog or link to a website. Otherwise, it is more than likely that your audience will disregard your post.

  • Take Action: Encourage your audience to take action by starting posts with “Get involved today!” or “Win a cash prize”, etc.
  • Relevant: Keep the posts relevant to the time that you are posting it. For example, post detail-oriented & live event posts during the day, and share creative and thought-provoking posts in the early morning or evenings when you audience is more likely to take the time to read them.
  • Pictures: Images are always more successful at grabbing viewers’ attention than words. Use them wisely by using high quality photos and posting live photos during events and throughout the day.
  • Maintain Branding: No matter what you want to post, make sure that you relate it back to your organization. You can do this by explaining how you are involved in the event, photo, or website that you are sharing. You can also do this by including your logo and color scheme on as much online marketing material as possible, such as graphics, photos, and links.

Drop-in Advising Sessions Coming Up

The Enrollment Management Committee of the Manning School of Business is pleased to announce Drop-in Advising Sessions! All sessions will take place in the lab, Pasteur 205 on the following days:

Thursday, October 23rd 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm
Monday, October 27th 9:30 am – 11:00 am
Thursday, October 30th 9:00 am – 10:30 am
Tuesday, November 4th 11:30 am – 1:00 pm
Wednesday, November 5th 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm

Registration for Spring 2015 semester courses begins on Monday, November 3rd through iSiS student self-service (based on enrollment appointments). Please make an appointment with your advisor or stop by one of these sessions to talk about your schedule for the spring!

Your Resume Won’t Get You Hired

Disclaimer: Anything written in this blog represents the opinions of the author, and no one else. Each blog is written lightly, and is not intended to offend any of the mentioned businesses, locations, students, or staff.


“I wish someone had told me this when I was your age…” This is the good old prelude that everyone 14 through 25 hears enough to feel indifferent. Fortunately, I am discovering that the information that follows this introduction can be extremely valid. For example, the advice about resumes that my boss has been sharing with me and my co-interns has opened our eyes to the purpose of a resume, and how to use one properly.

The advice he has given us so far is written below.

1)      Your resume won’t get you hired. What it will do, though, is get you through the door. Very few people have been hired based on words written on one sheet of paper. The goal of the resume is to do one thing: to pique the interest of the prospective employer and to bring you to the next step, which is the interview.

2)      Looks matter. Your resume must be esthetically appealing, as humans are apt to pay more attention to things that are appealing to the eye. This doesn’t make the prospective employer shallow. What it does mean, is that they are serious about who they want to hire. A visually appealing resume shows them that you care, you pay attention to detail, you care about your brand, and want to give off the best possible impression to those around you.

3)     Tell a story. Humans like to be walked through information in an eloquent yet concise manner. Your resume shouldn’t solely explain what you did in your previous positions. It should explain how you impacted the company’s business, how you helped them reach their goals (mission statement, yearly goals, ROI, etc.), and, most importantly, what you did differently to make your time there matter. Examples and numbers are effective ways to show evidence of this.

4)     Don’t just apply. It’s important that you don’t send along the same version of your resume to a bunch of companies. Tailoring your resume for a specific position will give you a leg up on the competition. It will help you learn more about the position you are applying for, and show the prospective employer that you understand what the company is looking for and that you hold the characteristics they are looking to attain in an employee.

At the end of the day, most people don’t land positions because of their resumes. Nevertheless, every bit of effort helps. Also, often it’s worth absorbing advice given by elders – even if they start it with a cliché lead. Good luck & resume on!