Alumni RAMP up new mentoring program

Initial RAMP mixer

Talk about a perfect match.

Natali Contreras is a senior kinesiology student at CSUB who wants to get into a good physical therapy program now or land a part-time job in the field that will earn her some money and improve her graduate school application for the future.

Gabby Fulmer is a CSUB alumna who owns a staffing company that specializes in placing people into medical and administrative positions.

The two just met and already, Fulmer is helping Contreras get both the internship hours she needs to get into grad school and a part-time job that will supplement her income.

Fulmer is grateful.

“I want to figure out what to do after graduation now, before everything hits me all at once,” she said.

Contreras and Fulmer met through the CSUB Alumni Association’s new Runner Alumni Mentorship Program, which kicked off with a mixer attended by mentors and mentees Tuesday night.

Years in the making, RAMP pairs up CSUB alumni and friends with current students who need help with such things as choosing a career path, drafting a resume, interviewing for jobs and networking.

The Alumni Association’s Mentorship Committee originally planned to start small, with 15 mentors and 15 mentees. But the response to just a little bit of social media marketing and a classroom visit was huge, with 51 mentees and 42 mentors signing up.

The mentees are from two of CSUB’s schools, Business and Public Administration and Social Sciences and Education. They are predominantly juniors, but also include some seniors and graduate students.

“And a huge majority of our mentees are probably first-generation college students, which is exciting that we get to serve a population that could really use the help of this program,” said Nancy Solis-Vargas, chair of the Mentorship Committee.

The mentors are a good mix of men and women, alumni and non-alumni who support CSUB, and come from a wide variety of fields including health care, education, government, oil and law. They have between five and 30 years of professional experience.

“A lot of the (alumni mentors) have not been involved with the campus since they graduated,” Solis-Vargas said. “So, for a lot of them, this is their first time being able to give back to the university.”

The mentor programming will be both structured and free-flowing. Matched pairs (some mentors have more than one mentee) will individually decide what activities work best for them, but there may be larger group activities such as panel discussions on resume writing and interview techniques, Solis-Vargas said.

The program will run through May, after which time the Mentorship Committee will evaluate what worked, what didn’t and where to take things from there.

RAMP is already paying off, though. Solis-Vargas said a mentee who wants to be a CPA and was paired with an accounting mentor has already found someone to job shadow. Mentees are already giving mentors their resumes for evaluation. The mentor mixer was supposed to end at 7:30 p.m. but mentors and mentees were still talking at 8.

Fulmer, who graduated from CSUB with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice in 2006 and owns Z Staffing, signed up to be a mentor after seeing it mentioned on LinkedIn.

She did so because she remembers wishing as a student that someone would help her choose the right major, pursue the right career and perform well in job interviews.

Fulmer sees others struggling with the same things today.

“I see so many people with a degree who don’t know what to do next,” she said. “With the right mentor, you can start working on those next steps before graduation.”

Interested in participating in a future cycle of RAMP? Email your interest to

Want to participate?

Interested in participating in a future cycle of RAMP? Email your interest to