Share your journey, make an impact.

"I think it's wonderful what you do! You are saving so many college students from the stress of 'what can I even do with my degree?'" 

"The experience of interacting with or just even listening to alumni was tangible proof that there is a future in IB and I was glad to see that." 


Deciding on a career to pursue after graduation can be a daunting and overwhelming task without the right resources. The Alumni Mentoring Program was created to help students learn about and navigate the huge breadth of careers available with an IB degree. Since the program began in 2017, alumni like yourself have impacted hundreds of students. Your combined efforts have meant our students feel more confident about the job search process and knowledgeable about their career options. The connections you make with our students are invaluable in shaping their futures, and are incredibly meaningful to each of them.

There are a lot of ways to make an impact, and many more ways to stay connected with IB and Biology at the University of Illinois. You can select each option to learn more about what it involves.

Contact Christina Swanson at to talk about these or other ways to stay involved with Integrative Biology.

Christina Swanson
IB Career Connections | Alumni Mentoring Program

Phone: 217-300-9002
Office: 2002 Natural History Building
1301 W. Green Street
Urbana, IL 61801

A headshot of Christina Swanson smiling at the camera.

Engagement Opportunities

Share your job title and description

Sharing something as simple as your job title and description will allow our students to learn about the huge range of careers and jobs available to them with an IB degree.

Please let us know if your job requires a higher degree, since there are many students who would like to start their careers after graduation.

Time invested: a few minutes

    Informational Interviews and Career Questions

    This is the main way that students engage with our alumni mentors, through informational interviews and short conversations to get more information about what jobs and careers actually entail on a daily basis.

    Christina will work with you to post an alumni profile on our website with a short summary of your job. All requests to connect will go through the Alumni Mentoring Program and Christina will contact you before connecting you with interested students.

    Time invested: 30 minutes to 1 hour per conversation

      Long-term mentorship

      This is most often a natural progression of shorter career conversations, but every once in a while we do get a request from a student for a longer term mentor. We can work with you to help facilitate this, or you can work it out with the interested student.

      Time invested: varies 

        SIB@Work 1-minute career videos

        We want to make the huge range of career options more visible to our SIB students. Our undergrads engage most with short videos on social media platforms so our aim is to post short 30 second to 1 minute videos answering common questions about careers on our IB YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter pages.

        You can record the videos with whatever equipment you have available to you, including a phone. We will help you to make the videos look as professional as possible using your own gear.

        The goal of these videos is to provide enough information that the students want to learn more – a movie trailer rather than a plot summary. We will be available to interface with the social media platforms so involvement will not require profiles or accounts with Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube.

        Time invested: projected to be 1-2 hours 

          #iBioExperience feature

          We feature members of our IB Community on social media to share what it means to be a part of Integrative Biology. We rotate between alumni, students, faculty, staff, and others. These short posts are drafted by us, then edited and approved by you before they are posted.

          See some of our featured alumni here. 

          Time invested: ~20-30 minutes

          Submit your #iBioExperience!

            Profile on our website

            We feature profiles of all of our alumni mentors on our website so students can learn a bit more about career options on their own time, and can reach out to learn more when they are ready.

            Fill out the alumni survey and we will put together a draft profile. The profile will be edited and approved by you before it is posted.

            Time invested: ~30 minutes

              IB392 & IB592 career course involvement

              IB392, Translating your IB Degree into Career Success, is an elective, 1 credit course specifically designed to help our students learn about career options and build skills necessary to succeed after graduation. We do this by including around 20 of our alumni mentors in each semester to share their experiences, perspectives, and insights on a range of career-related topics.

              Alumni guest instructors join for the full hour of the synchronous class period, either through Zoom or in person (when circumstances allow), though students do often stay after class to ask questions and continue the conversation. It is intended that guest instructors spend less than an hour preparing for the class, including: reviewing the itinerary and slides, adding information to their slides (if desired), preparing a short (5 minute) introduction, looking through the student question forum, and possibly 1 or 2 more quick items.

              “The unique aspect of having alumni in almost every lecture [of IB292] helping you out with every step of the job search process is an experience I could not have gotten anywhere else.”

              “This class helped me immensely. It forced me to come out of my shell, get more comfortable in talking with people in a professional setting, and get more comfortable with the whole job search process in general.”

              “I discovered a direction in which I want my career to follow after graduation.”

              IB592: Career and Skill Development in IB  is a new class available to graduate students. It helps build communication skills, develop professional skills, and explore career options.

              Time invested: ~2 hours

                Panels and other events

                We have utilized alumni experiences for a range of panel discussions, workshops, and events over the years. Your professional experiences and personal narratives are so much more powerful than any lecture, so we try to incorporate you all as much as possible.

                In the future we would like to involve you in our IB courses, and will be working with faculty to see what this could look like.

                Time invested: 1-2 hours

                  Job shadows and other experiential opportunities

                  It is essential for our students to get first hand experiences in the jobs and fields they are intending to pursue after graduation. Too often their expectations do not align with the daily tasks and responsibilities of the job. Anything you can do to facilitate these experiential opportunities would be incredibly valuable.

                  Some examples are: having students shadow you during your normal working hours (for an hour, a day, or a week, depending on your schedules), short lab or field experiences (most requested: wet lab techniques, field techniques, animal handling experiences, first hand conservation experience), referral to colleagues or programs

                  Time invested: varies

                    Engage with LAS and UI

                    In addition to working with IB there are volunteer opportunities through LAS as well including serving on the LAS Alumni Council or LAS alumni committees, mentoring, speaking to classes, offering externships, and more. See all of the options here. 

                    Visit the UI Alumni Association to see all of the campus-wide opportunities and events. 

                    Browse the LAS Alumni page to stay connected with the College.

                      Suggest a way to stay involved!

                      We are always open to hearing suggestions from you about how you’d like to stay involved with the SIB community. Contact Christina at to start the conversation.

                      Keep up with us on social media




                      Next Steps


                      Fill out our alumni profile survey to tell us a bit more about you, and how you’d like to be involved with Integrative Biology. 

                      Undergraduate Alumni Graduate Alumni

                      If you have both graduate and undergraduate degrees from IB, please fill out the undergraduate survey.

                      "I appreciate hearing the alumni's backstories. I found it heartening that a lot of them had gone through some career changes and some uncertainty about their career paths. This was something that was stressing me out, but the fact that these successful alumni had gone through the same thing made me feel more hopeful!"

                      "Hearing from IB alumni helped me open my mind up to potential careers I had not previously considered."

                      Giving to SIB

                      Another way to make a large impact on our students’ lives is by contributing to student support funds to facilitate key experiences such as undergraduate research, unpaid internships, travel and lodging for off-campus experiences such as job shadows and conferences, and more.

                      If you’d like to learn more about how to contribute to these or other IB funds, please visit our Giving to SIB page.