As a student-centered university, WGU assigns a mentor with first-hand industry experience to every student. Mentors start providing guidance to students on their first day after being accepted to WGU. They set up a custom course plan based on a student’s experience and knowledge of the subject matter, and truly work together with their students on the journey toward graduation.
Bryan Chun has been a Program Mentor in the College of Information Technology for four years, and specializes in software development. He has a BA in economics and a BSEE in electrical engineering from Union College in Schenectady, New York, and an MBA and MS in computer science from State University of New York at Binghamton.
We asked Bryan to share a little bit about himself and his role as Program Mentor.
Can you tell us about your professional background?
Prior to joining WGU, I worked at IBM for 23 years as an application programmer and project manager on global manufacturing of computer chips, modules, and large computer systems. I Installed custom applications at large airline builders, helicopter facilities, nuclear power plants, and satellite companies. Later, I became an engineering/software professor at a local technical school where I developed and taught courses.
How did you learn about WGU?
I was teaching at a local college and the dean told me about WGU as an online school. He had several faculty members leave to join WGU.
What does a typical workweek look like for you?
Every morning, I check my emails from students and handle their requests. Next, I start contacting each of my students and providing them direction on passing their courses. On Tuesday and Wednesday, I work later in the evening to help students living on the West Coast. Thursday, I call the rest of my students. On Friday, I call students who have missed their call time and follow up on student requests.
What is your average load in terms of students you work with?
What is an example of a student success story that you’d like to share?
I have a student whose goal was to become a software developer. One month after he started, he was given orders to deploy to Kuwait. We worked together to come up with a plan to continue his education while serving aboard. Using Zoom, I kept weekly contact with him, providing guidance and support for his courses. After 12 months, he returned to civilian life and continued his studies at WGU. During his last term, he was offered a job as a junior Java software developer. He met his goal and will soon receive his degree.
Can you tell us about yourself and what you like to do?
I was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, and now live in Charlotte. My wife and I enjoy organic gardening and canning our crops. I enjoy supporting our local sports teams—the Charlotte Hornets and Carolina Panthers.
Is there anything else you’d like people to know about your job or about WGU?
At WGU, we are always developing new tools and methods to improve the educational experience for our students.
Thank you to Bryan and all Program Mentors throughout WGU’s four colleges. They are truly dedicated to student success, and are always ready to provide guidance, encouragement, or even sometimes just a friendly check-in.