MSIS Alumni Give Back as Mentors

The Mentorship Program is a core component of the Master of Science in Information Systems curriculum. The program connects MSIS students with Seattle-based IT leaders through a unique one-to-one professional relationship that can bridge the gap between academic concepts and real-world practices. 

Elizabeth “Lizzy” Stellato, Senior Engineering Program Manager at Adobe, and David Luu-Van, Manager, Data Science at Dropbox, are entering their third year as industry mentors in the MSIS program. As graduates of the MSIS Class of 2016, they are able to share a unique perspective with the students they mentor, making their connection to each student all the more meaningful.

Lizzy, a self-described East-Coast girl, never expected to land in Seattle and love it. Nor did she imagine that her passions would be in technology. David, a proud University of Washington economics and mathematics alum, began a career in financial management before realizing his interests lie in the tech industry. Each of their journeys led them to the Master of Science in Information Systems program, where they found new doors opening to the multitude of opportunities available in the technology industry. 

One of the best features for me with the MSIS program is that it introduced me to a variety of technology and job opportunities I never knew existed.”

– Lizzy Stellato 

MSIS not only equips students with the technical skills and business acumen to open doors to new positions, but it provides students access to a network of Seattle’s technology leaders. For alumni like Lizzy and David, those connections were invaluable. David reflected, “I had a good experience with my program mentor. She helped a lot by making connections to people for me and that is something I appreciate more now than before.” 

MSIS Class of 2016 Alumni

Though Lizzy and David have unique backgrounds, MSIS’ small class sizes allowed them to remain close friends during the program and beyond. When approached about becoming MSIS mentors at an alumni networking event, they both agreed to participate as an opportunity to give back to the MSIS community.

As mentors, Lizzy and David leverage each other’s strengths and different career backgrounds to support their mentees while also navigating their own personal career challenges. 

Both David and Lizzy use their experience in Seattle’s tech market to answer student questions about finding jobs, interviewing, and future possibilities. It’s important to David to share the knowledge he’s received through MSIS with others. David supports his mentees individual goals while encouraging them to meet with him often. 

I give them a complete run-down of technical positions and companies where they are most needed. I help them with their interviewing skills too.”

David Luu-Van

Lizzy (right) and former mentee Jasmine (left)

Similarly, Lizzy also credits her mentor from home for helping her begin her tech career, and she hopes to do the same for her mentees. 

As a mentor, I encourage my mentees to talk to lots of people. If I know someone at a company they are interested in, I make an introduction.” 

The connections made in the MSIS program can last a lifetime, and Lizzy and David embody that connection. Being a mentor keeps them connected to the school, alumni programs, and opportunities in the community. They enjoy having the opportunity to help students make choices, take chances, and learn from their mistakes and experiences. With an MSIS degree and continued involvement with the program, there are always new doors to open.

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