Students help create networking website
Site connects professionals looking to mentor with mentees
A new site called mentormentored.org is like the eHarmony of tutoring, according to site developer Kevin Ivanov.
Instead of matching people into relationships, however, the site debuted last Monday to match mentors, or teachers, and mentees, people who want to be taught more about a subject.
Several of the people involved with mentormentored.org are University students. Alex Huang and Ivanov are both first-year students in the School of Arts and Sciences.
Ivanov said initial founder of the site Neil Limaye was in his computer science class in high school when they decided to take their education into their own hands, with a more in-depth project.
Ivanov and Limaye, a sophomore at Princeton High School, were interested in creating a program related to social networking and realized that an education-related social networking site would help people hoping to learn more outside of the classroom, Ivanov said.
Limaye said the reason he started the network was because he wanted to learn electrical engineering, but the tutoring services he had at his disposal were not enough.
The website has three separate sections: one for students, one for entrepreneurs, and one for veterans, Ivanov said.
“After watching “Forrest Gump” and seeing Lt. Dan, I started thinking about what other soldiers could be having these problems,” Limaye said.
Ivanov said veterans who are having difficulty finding a job could gain experience through their site, giving them more of an advantage during the hiring process.
“Say for instance a war veteran wants to become an IT guy, then like someone from Cisco Certified could mentor him,” Ivanov said.
The entrepreneur section would allow venture capitalists to network and gain experience from professionals on how to get funding or where to get started, Ivanov said.
Limaye said most tutoring services have two major problems. It is tough to fit tutoring sessions into one’s schedule, and there is an issue with quality control in many tutoring services. Both are problems mentormentored.org seeks to address.
The duo began developing in March of 2012, Ivanov said. Since then, they’ve been working on connections and now are more focused on building the site.
“The problem is everyone wants to tutor, but they can’t find anyone who needs tutoring or someone wants to be tutored in a particular subject, but either that subject is not available in their location or it’s all booked up,” he said.
They have about ten Princeton University professors interested, two MIT professors, and are getting into contact with a Stanford professor, Ivanov said.
The would-be mentors and mentees would connect on their own preferred medium when they sign up for the site, Ivanov said. They could select phone call, email, Skype, or instant messaging on their profile.
“Say you were interested in journalism — you would type in the search bar ‘journalism,’ and you would get a list and you would see where the tutors graduated from and what his [or her] major was,” he said.
The site’s board of advisors would screen the mentors before they are allowed to list themselves on the site, Ivanov said. The mentors would have to list their GPA and show they are proficient in the subject along with writing an essay explaining why they feel they could tutor the subject.
Ivanov said the site itself would operate strictly off of donations, which can be made on the site itself, and would not charge members for using mentormentored.org.
“We would encourage [the mentors] to offer their services for free, but we would not restrain them if they wanted to work out a payment plan with a mentee,” Ivanov said.
The site is currently in beta, and would begin connecting users on April 15, Limaye said.
Alex Huang, who works on the site’s newsletter, said he informs the Board of Advisors on what he, Limaye, and Ivanov are doing with the website.
According to the website, the board of advisors for mentormentored.org currently includes Fernando Hernandez, the director of Supplier Diversity and the head of the Global Procurement Group at Microsoft, Els Paine, the associate director of Princeton’s Council on Science and Technology, and Bernard Kreilmann, the CEO of Ferrero USA.
The members of the Board of Advisors were personal connections of Limaye’s, he said.
“I’m really looking for people who really want to help others,” he said.