This post is part of our series on online mentoring. To learn more, click here.

When I was growing up I always looked forward to Career Day, when adults in our community, from firefighters to engineers to artists, came to our classroom to talk about their jobs. Those people and the journeys they shared left a lasting impression on me. They helped me dream of a bright future and remember that the things I was learning in school would help me in my “real life” down the road.

Spending just 30 minutes of your week can inspire others. I have seen first-hand how sharing your real-life experiences can impact today’s students. And they have made a lasting impact on me, as well. 

These school visits from community leaders were a treasure, but they only came around once or twice per school year due to the time, planning, coordination, and permissions they required. My classmates and I wished Career Day could be everyday back then.

Today, we still have the opportunity to inspire students to dream big and learn about careers they didn’t know existed. The only difference is, for today’s students, Career Day can be everyday. Thanks to technology, we can inspire students in communities across the country without ever leaving our desks through an online platform called Nepris.   

Nepris is an organization that connects teachers and students with industry experts virtually, via an online platform with video technology. Volunteers create a profile in Nepris listing their skills and expertise that would be helpful to share with students, and teachers post topics their classes want to learn. Nepris matches the professionals with the teachers whose classes would be the best fit. Industry professionals can also offer live chats on a topic of choice, provide virtual tours, or conduct mock interviews through the platform, for which any teacher in Nepris can sign up. After finding the perfect match, the teacher and the professional work together to set up the session they’ll share with the students…it’s not dissimilar to online dating!

 When AT&T began collaborating with Nepris to connect students and teachers with AT&T employees, I decided to give it a try - and I’m sure glad I did! Since then, I have been able to share my career experience with 7 classrooms across the country, reaching a total of 140 students; all from the convenience of my own computer.

The beauty of this online platform is really how it uses the power of technology to bring the community into the classroom, giving teachers the opportunity to expose students to a world beyond the walls of school. Stories from teachers speak for themselves:

“Nepris allows my students and I to go literally anywhere and talk to anyone in any industry. We enjoy being able to simply ask to talk to a specific industry [professional] and it always works out. Nepris allows the students to be dreamers.” – Susan Manning, Teacher in Tempe, Arizona

“This [collaboration] with AT&T has really gotten the kids excited about the possibilities of working for a great company. It's nice to sit back and watch them smile and make plans for their future.” – Sarah Parker, Cleveland, Teacher in Cleveland, OH.

As an AT&T employee, it has given me the ability to use my personal experience in STEM, share the path I took to get to my career, and explain the skills that I use every day in my job with these students.

Spending just 30 minutes of your week can inspire others. I have seen first-hand how sharing your real-life experiences can impact today’s students. And they have made a lasting impact on me, as well. They have taught me to never doubt them. They are unbelievably smart, and armed with the tools to leave a bigger impact than we ever imagined possible. With some guidance, this younger generation is going to change the world. You can bet on that! I highly encourage you to make a lasting impact on students across America from your desk chair, too, by volunteering through Nepris

About the Author

Jeffrey Basch

Jeffrey Basch is an associate director of technology for AT&T. He is based in Schaumburg, Il.

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