By: Anney Woodard (‘23)
In 2019, the University of Georgia (UGA) launched its first comprehensive mentorship initiative. The UGA Mentor Program is a networking opportunity available to students and a convenient way for them to learn from experienced alumni in their field of study. Forming a meaningful connection over the course of 16 weeks, mentors provide inspiration and guidance with both career and life tips. The platform suggests potential matches based on criteria such as major, interests, and/or location, however, it is student driven so mentees make requests based on their preferences. The UGA Mentor Program website also includes a suggested timeline, tips for introductory conversations, and goal setting as well as other resources to set mentor pairs up for success.
A School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA) student and mentee Urooj Ali (‘21) shared her experience with the UGA Mentor Program, and since January is National Mentor Month, it’s the perfect time to share the mentor perspective. Urooj’s mentor was UGA Political Science graduate Amberleigh Reyes (AB ’19), and she shared some commonly asked questions about the program.
Why did you become a UGA Mentor?
“Throughout my undergraduate years, I had several mentors that helped me figure out my post-graduate plans and eventually helped me to transition into my first career in Washington D.C. After the UGA Alumni Association reached out with information on the UGA Mentor program, I decided to return the favor and be a resource to SPIA students.”
Did you have any questions or fears?
“I was nervous that my experiences and guidance would not be as helpful as someone else who was more established in their career. That being said, I believe that being a new alumna was beneficial to my relationship with Urooj in that I could relate to two experiences – that of a student and that of a recent graduate at the start of her career.”
Did you feel well supported?
“Yes! The program’s interface allowed me to easily match with a student with similar career aspirations and then provided resources to help cultivate a mentor-mentee relationship.”
How was the time commitment?
“The program is very manageable in that you and your mentee can customize how often you want to meet. As we both had busy schedules, we communicated by email once a week and held virtual meetings once a month.”
Did you feel like you were able to help your mentee?
“After our initial meeting, I knew that I had a real connection with my mentee and believed I could genuinely help her. Aside from providing insight into my career field, I carefully thought about what would be helpful for her during college and life after graduation. I helped edit her resume, create a timeline for LSAT preparations, provided connections to expand her network, and pointed her to campus programs and extra-curricular relating to political science and international affairs.”
Overall, Amerleigh would recommend UGA alumni take the step to consider mentoring, and shares “I absolutely enjoyed my time with Urooj.”
If you are interested in becoming a UGA mentor or mentee you can sign up at mentor.uga.edu.
Have you heard about the new informational interviews? In November 2020, we rolled out an informational interview feature to provide you with another meaningful opportunity to connect with UGA students. With the introduction of informational interviews, you can determine if you have the capacity to mentor a student for 16 weeks and/or be available for 30-minute informational interviews. You are in the driver’s seat. Learn more about how your interactions with students can work around your schedule.