Support for Your Goals and Ambitions!
When I heard about the UGA Mentor Program, I knew without a doubt what a wonderful opportunity it was and that I should apply immediately. Various organizations at UGA have shown me what it’s like to be a student mentor or mentee, but the UGA Mentor Program offered me a chance to connect with an alumnus on a personal level. I was able to choose a mentor that would share my major, interests, or experience at UGA. Also, I wanted to have a mentor who would support my goals and help me develop them.
I was scared that I would have a mentor who didn’t care, but I was quickly put at ease. My mentor, Allison, genuinely supported my ambitions and talked me through my goals. Also, I’ve seen and heard how the alumni who participate in the UGA Mentor Program want to see students succeed. The biggest surprise was the flexibility of the UGA Mentor Program. It wasn’t time-consuming. It didn’t interfere with my class schedule, work, or any other obligations. I got to establish how frequently I wanted to communicate with my mentor, and we communicated monthly via email, telephone, and in-person.
Don’t hesitate to apply, students! It really is a great program, because there’s a mentor and commitment that’s right for everybody. Having a mentor is a great chance to look at someone else’s journey from UGA to where they are now — especially if it aligns with your interests. Mentors are a valuable source of information, and you get out of the mentoring relationship what you put into it. You never know what good will come from the relationship. Everyone should take the time to look at the website, the FAQs, and contact the UGA Mentor Program team if they are unsure of anything.
Someone In Your Corner
From the beginning, my relationship with my mentor was strong! I was matched with a mentor who graduated from the same high school as me, had the same major as me in undergrad, and participated in one of the same organizations I was in. There was no awkward start to the mentorship; we both felt comfortable. This led to honest and candid conversations about careers, the world outside of college, and the professional world. My mentor helped me make the daunting decision to change my major as I was able to see the type of work he did with a similar major and find that the career path was not right for me. After changing my major, he helped me with the transition as far as classes, looking for opportunities, and more. It has definitely been amazing having someone in my corner to help me through the uncertainties and keep me motivated! I truly enjoyed the experience and the impact it has made on my first year in college. I value the life long connection I have made with my mentor.
2,480 miles had nothing on us!
Standing on the green trail of a local park, I waited for a call from my mentor, Elizabeth Pishal. I thought to myself “should I ask her what her day has been like so far? wait her day barely just started uggh.. stop overthinking it Jyoti! Breathe..” Tring tring, my phone rang and I was greeted with a warm “Hi Jyoti! How are you?” Before I knew it, we were talking about our passion for marketing, volunteering, our hometowns, and what not!
Over the next few months, we continued to get to know each other as Elizabeth helped be through my job search process. It was very reassuring to have a fellow Bulldawg telling me that I was ahead the curve and that it’ll all work out. I tried my best to structure the phone calls around different topics I wanted to discuss, such as networking tips, cover letters, interviewing, managing an offer, etc.
Through the UGA Mentor Program, I understood the value of having someone in your corner. Even though, my mentor and I are 2480 miles apart, we created a lifelong connection and I’m very grateful for that!
UGA Mentors = Support for First Generation Students
There are so many questions when a student starts college. Which dining hall is the best? Do I really need every item on this packing list I found on Pinterest? Did I pick the right major?
Another question I asked myself, as a first generation college student, was what am I going to do with this degree, and, even more importantly, my life? I sought advice wherever I could find it- my professors, supervisors at my on my on campus job, even Dove chocolate wrappers. I was so eager to find someone who I could relate to and trust to give me advice about college life, and life after. The UGA Mentor Program gave me just that.
During my second year, I was paired with Jill Walton, Senior Executive Director for Development in UGA’s Development and Alumni Relations division. I met Jill once a month in Tate, and we would sit and chat over coffee or tea from Tate Market. From the beginning, I thought Jill was one of the coolest people I have ever met. She had so many stories about her time at UGA as a student, her travels, and her projects at work. I felt like her experience was so valuable, and I felt so lucky to learn from her.
I talked with Jill often about what I loved about my fields of study, and how I could see myself working in higher education eventually, too. From that moment on, I knew I had Jill in my corner. She went above and beyond to connect me to others within the University community that she believed could help me in my time here; from people in her office, to other students she mentored, she always thought to introduce and connect me. I quickly realized that everyone knew Jill, and that I was rather lucky to know her, too.
From lunch with colleagues, to attending guest lectures in the Chapel, Jill always took the time to make sure I was there, experiencing and learning. By doing so, I not only had the chance to learn more about what Jill did, but it also showed me exactly how I wanted to build my future career. I realized, no matter what field I pursue, I wanted to be like Jill; I wanted to spend intentional time investing in others, introducing them to those who could help them along the way, and giving them the chance to be “there” - wherever there is for them.
While mine and Jill’s mentorship term has ended through the program, I know that Jill is still cheering me on. I update her often about the happenings of my now third year of my undergraduate career, and she is always excited and supportive. I often watch what Jill does too, keeping up with DAR news and getting excited when I see one of her projects mentioned on my LinkedIn feed. All in all, I gained exactly what I needed from the Mentor Program: someone who had great knowledge, and a great heart, that was willing to invest in me. I am not the only one with this type of story: with over 850 successful pairings through the Mentor Program, many UGA students have found this same connection with alumni, faculty, staff and friends of the University. Sign up today at mentor.uga.edu.
UGA Mentor Program = Transformational Opportunity
When I first heard about the pilot program of the UGA Mentor Program, I was in my second semester of my senior year here at the University of Georgia. As a senior, I had been very lucky to be involved with various clubs and extracurriculars across campus that showed me what it meant to be a leader and a mentor to students not only at UGA, but also in the Athens community. However, a part of me was hesitant to participate, as I wondered if I even needed a mentor that late in the game. However, I couldn’t have been more wrong about my hesitation; I was matched with just the right person at just the right time. My mentor’s name was Jane, and she worked in the Division of Development and Alumni Relations at UGA. I hope I don’t sound cliché when I say that she changed my life for the better, but to this day, I really do think she hung the moon and stars. When we began having our bi-weekly meetings in January of 2019, I realized what I had been missing the past 4 years as an undergrad: someone who was unconditionally in my corner.
As we began to get to know each other better, our bi-weekly meetings changed from sitting in coffee shops to taking walks together down Milledge Avenue when the weather was nice. I was even able to invite her to my sorority house for lunch one day, and show her a part of my life that was very meaningful to me (it also happened to be Cuban sandwich day, which I knew would wow her). Upon graduation on May 10, 2019, Jane made it a point to come to Grady College to see me with my family before I headed into the stadium. Although we were only in our formal mentoring relationship until April, I think I learned more about myself in those 4 months than I had in the 4 years I had attended UGA. Jane exemplified community service and leadership, and in turn, instilled a sense of purpose in me to figure out how I was going to give back to my community upon graduation. She is the reason I am in graduate school today at UGA, pursuing my Master of Arts in Teaching in Social Studies Education.
If you would have told me a year ago that I was going to meet a mentor that was going to change my life for the better, I would have 100% laughed at you. But, when I look back now as a first-semester graduate student, my fondest memories in Spring of 2019 are the intentional conversations I had with Jane; we talked about anything and everything, and she helped me realize what direction I wanted to go in with my life. Honestly, this opportunity was one of the most transformative experiences I’ve had at this university, and I will forever be so grateful to Jane for her kindness and for taking a chance on a second-semester senior who wasn’t sure what her purpose in life was yet. Thank you, Jane, for everything!
Mentor = Advocate and Linker for Graduate Students
When I signed up to participate in the UGA Mentor Program, I had no idea that less than a month later I would be sitting face-to-face with a research team lead from Bayer, or that the table between us would be at a tiny Mexican restaurant halfway between Athens and Atlanta.
The University of Georgia is a fantastic place to be a graduate student; as a second-year PhD student in the microbiology program, I’ve had the opportunity to present at a national symposium, do exciting, collaborative research, and participate in thought-provoking conversations with other researchers. But while graduate school sometimes seems like it will last forever (especially when I’m coming into lab for a 2 a.m. timepoint), I’m just entering the stage where the answer to the question “Where do you see yourself in five years?” isn’t “UGA.”
Graduate advisors can be fantastic mentors – I’m lucky that my advisor is not only an intelligent and renowned researcher, but also a thoughtful and dedicated mentor who invests in the success of her students. When it comes to looking at careers post-graduation, however, many advisors can’t speak to the kinds of industry careers that exist for STEM graduates who don’t have dreams of tenured-professorship.
When I got an email advertising the UGA Mentor Program, I thought it could be the perfect chance to talk to an alumnus who made it through the grad school gauntlet at UGA and worked their way up in industry. This – and so much more – was exactly what I got from Dr. Jennifer Yates, a Wheat Breeding Lead at Bayer Crop Science.
The Mentor Program lets you select from hundreds of potential mentors based on their career, degree from UGA, and school affiliation. In my case, I filtered my results to someone who had earned a PhD in Life Sciences and was doing research at a large company. You can also filter by location, though I didn’t limit my results to Athens or Atlanta because I was happy to “meet” virtually. All that led me to pick Jennifer, although by a stroke of luck we did end up getting to meet (at the aforementioned taco shop) when she flew into Atlanta for a conference the week after we were matched).
In the time since, we’ve met virtually for 30 minutes two or three times a month (a choice we made – and yet another area where the Mentor Program is refreshingly hands-off), and I’ve gotten great insight. I’ve asked her questions about everything from how she entered the job market and hunted for internships to what her days look like now as she balances her duties as a research team lead. More than just answering questions interview-style, though, Jennifer’s supported me in and out of the lab. When I spent a harrowing week buried in reading and preparing for my oral exams for candidacy last month, she spent most of our skype call listening to my fears and offering encouragement and perspective. The fact she had been through what I had at UGA and could relate to my specific experiences made her advice and insight even more valuable to me.
The biggest surprise to me was how willing she was to act as an advocate and “linker” – as a crop scientist, she couldn’t always talk about the work someone like me (studying microbiology) would be doing in industry. Instead, she connected me with another research team leader, working in California. I was able to chat not only with him but with his team of post-docs, who talked about their experiences as (very) recent graduates. By the end of the 10-or-so weeks, I felt like I had such a breadth and depth of knowledge that I couldn’t have gotten any other way (and a whole lot of new LinkedIn connections!).
For all these reasons and more, I couldn’t recommend the UGA Mentor Program more highly to graduate students looking at getting a deeper understanding of careers in their field. I know I’m grateful to have gotten to be a part of the process.
Upon first chatting with my mentor Shontel Solomon, we immediately clicked. We both have a passion for supporting the emotional health of black families, and we even had similar campus involvement. We have discussed master's programs, different counseling professions and licenses, and how to remain involved as an alumnus. I look forward to having more conversations with her, as we plan to continue checking in with one another in the future!
Mentorship = Confidence & Opportunity!
I joined the UGA Mentor Program because of an initial interest email that went out to everyone. The thought of being paired up with a UGA Alumnus sounded pretty intriguing, so I decided to go ahead and sign up. I had no idea what I was getting myself into so I joined the program with absolutely no expectations.
It was nerve-wracking to me to think that I, an 18-year old inexperienced freshman at the time, would have to meet and exceed the expectations of the professional I was going to be mentored by. But as soon as I matched with my mentor on the program, all I felt was excitement. I quickly learned that it wasn’t scary connecting with someone who had real life experience and expertise to share with me. Instead it was casual, fun, and the most beneficial program I have been a part of here at UGA.
Before joining the Mentor Program, I lacked confidence in myself. I had always thought of myself as a confident person, but the program allowed me to speak about the things I was passionate about with someone else who shared those same passions. I learned that it is not scary to speak with someone on a professional level, and there is no sense in being timid and worried that you’ll slip up and say something incorrectly. They are not waiting for you to fail and they truly want to help you grow.
Opportunity is why you should join the UGA Mentor Program. This program opens up a world of opportunity for you to connect with someone who is similar to you, who has been in your shoes before, who can offer advice when you most need it, and who will help you grow as a young professional. This is how you can truly jumpstart your success. Your mentor will also be somebody to stay in contact with even after your mentoring relationship has officially ended on the platform, and they will be more than willing to help you succeed and find opportunities for years to come.
Grateful for My UGA Mentor!
I am a senior major in Accounting & Management Information System and minor in Computer Science. I joined the pilot program of the UGA Mentor Program in my second semester of junior year. During the relationship with my first mentor, I got more insights of what’s the work like in my field. That’s the moment I realized I need to rethink about my career plan. From the deep inside, I am passionate about education and want to become a professor one day. Therefore, I started to prepare for the application of graduate school in my senior year.
Through the UGA Mentor Program in this fall, I got connected with my second mentor Dr. Kristi Farner (2016), who graduated with Ph.D in High Education Administration, currently serve as Extension Specialist at the Office for the Associate Dean for Cooperative Extension at University of Georgia. And within this semester I feel so grateful to have Dr. Farner in my journey.
Dr. Kristi Farner is one of the kindest and the most patient person I’ve ever met in my life. We have bi-weekly meetings once after we are connected. Every time we met, we talked about what’s going on in our lives just like friends without any pressure or obstacles. At the beginning, I am nervous about thinking about graduate school so late in my senior year. Under her guidance, I have better understanding about what the graduate school is like, how I should mentally and physically prepare for that, and what is some procedures I need to go through while exploring different programs. Additionally, there is a lot going on in my life this semester. She is always in my corner to listen to my complex situation and give the most genuine advice to me. And every time I feel discouraged, she is the one who encourage me to rebuild confidence. Right now, I’ve got a research opportunity next semester and decided to delay my graduation for one more semester and better prepare myself as a researcher before graduation with a solid plan. There is no way I can achieve it without her help.
Although the time approaches the end of the semester, which is end of our formal mentoring relationship, we both committed to continuing our mentorship in the future. I really appreciate the flexibility and diversity of the UGA Mentor Program, which allows me to connect with Dr. Farner, who’s not in my study field. As the first generation of college student in my family, and as an international student at UGA, I always feel I am the minority in the community. It’s the connection with my mentors that not only help me grow professionally, but also let me feel more involved in the UGA big dawg family.
If you are also in the stage when you are not sure about where to go next, I would highly recommend you find a mentor in UGA Mentor Program. The transformative experience may be a life-changer for you. Just like me, one year ago, I would have never imagined that I would delay my graduation and apply for graduate school. And once you graduate from UGA, let’s pay it forward as mentors to the future generation of Bulldogs.
Mentoring = Relationships + Doors Opened
The UGA Mentor Program has helped me to feel confident and more relaxed when speaking with business professionals. Previously, I had no experience having conversations in a professional compacity and this program has allowed me to have two amazing mentors. The UGA Mentor Program has also allowed me an avenue to have conversations with UGA alumni that love to give their time back to the University.
Students should join the UGA Mentor Program, because you can never cultivate too many relationships. By connecting with a UGA Mentor, you are able to learn from their experiences. UGA mentors can open doors with other professionals in their network making yours larger. Also, they have helped me establish personal and professional goals.
Mentoring is a priceless experience that can help prepare you for other areas in life, not just professional. My past experiences with this program has allowed me to appreciate having alumni that are so willing to give back and I plan on paying it forward after I graduate.
UGA Mentor Program - What an Experience!
My experience with the mentorship program at UGA has been beyond wonderful! Anna - my mentee - and I have had the best time possible. Anna is so willing to reach out and go for the things we've discussed and just never stops learning and making connections! It has been more than I could ever imagine. I knew we would have a connection and accomplish goals, but I had no idea just how much fun we would have and how great things would be! Anna already has a position for this summer! Woo....Hoo. Who knew it would be so rewarding and just plain fun! I have made a connection for life, and I just can't wait to see what happens in Anna's future. It will be totally amazing! Thank you UGA for making all of this possible! Go Dawgs!
I had the pleasure of working with Afokeoghene "GG" Egberi. "GG" is an amazing young woman and academic scholar. I met "GG" at a Dozen Dawgs Dinner in 2018. I was excited to know that she was going to be my mentee. Miss Egberi is an amazing student body member and will join the UGA Ronald E. McNair Scholars this summer. I am extremely proud of her. She is a "hidden figure" no more.
A Learning Experience
As with any request from my alma mater to accept a volunteer assignment, I said 'yes' to becoming a part of the UGA Mentor Program. It has been a rewarding time for me and I trust for my mentee, Ashley Soriano, a senior in the Grady College. I have shared some examples from my career - a few successes and a lot of mistakes - that I hope will be helpful to her. In return, she has taught me just how well-prepared, bright and focused are our students. Ashley and I are both first-generation college attendees in our family and appreciate the opportunity our university has given us. I think I can speak for Ashley when I say the UGA Mentor Program has been a great learning experience for us both.
A Great Hope
During this process, I’ve been challenged on many different levels. I’ve changed jobs to go from one that had lots of travel to one that was suppose to have limited travel. Things don’t always workout the way we think the will. On the first week of the job my entire team was reassigned to a special project that put me on the road more than I was in my previous job. Because of this I wasn’t able to speak with my mentee as frequently as I would have liked. During one of our talks I apologized for having to occasionally change times and limit the time we spoke. I felt bad because I want her to have a good experience and want to share all the positives that this mentor process can offer. After expressing this the greatest thing happened for me. She said this is what she needs to hear and has enjoyed hearing about the challenges. She knows things won't always be perfect, but it’s better to know that than a false perception of how things go. This gave me a great hope that I was helping this student. I look forward to continuing chat with her as she continues her coursework and UGA and begins to look for internships and her first job.
Meaningful, fun experience!
I had the honor of connecting in a mentoring relationship with Taylor Maggiore. She is a remarkable young woman! We communicated several times via email and text and had one lengthy phone call, although the best connection occurred when we met for lunch in Athens. Taylor and I talked a good bit about her work on campus, her career goals, and her summer internship options. I'm not sure I was a huge help to her, but I'm hopeful that the experience and insight I shared with her from my years in TV news and video content production were encouraging. She's going to do and be something quite significant!
Make Time for Mentoring
In my own career, I have enjoyed fulfillment for a variety of reasons, including having access to professionals – both inside and outside of the UGA network – willing to offer insights and words of wisdom. While this has been an informal process for me, I have found great value in learning from those steps ahead in their careers in our nation’s capital. I appreciate that UGA has invested in a formal mentoring process to support the growth and development of current students. It was a pleasure serving in the role of mentor in the inaugural class of the UGA Mentor Program. Not only did it provide an avenue to encourage my mentee, Christian Carlow, the program provided a glimpse of the quality of students that UGA continues to attract – those with great energy and passion in making a positive difference in the world, and those already learning to balance a number of priorities in their personal and academic lives. When future opportunities are presented to be a part of the UGA Mentor Program, I sincerely hope that students and alumni will carve out time to make these engagements possible. The UGA Mentor Program is a great experience for both mentors and mentees to listen and learn, and I hope it will be a success in the years ahead.
My Great Experience With The UGA Mentor Program
I have received carefully, considered guidance from my mentor that has acted as an added source to my education. It has also helped me see what is necessary when preparing for life after graduation. Valuable tips on portfolio/resume building, the importance of internships and time management have been integral to my growth as a student. I appreciate this program for the benefits I have been given and cannot speak more highly of it. Thank you UGA Mentor Program!
Ellie has been a wonderful mentee. We have stayed connected through the platform, meeting regularly, events and text messaging. Last week she invited me to her sorority house for lunch. What a fun experience that I had not done before. I was able to connect her to leadership on campus. The great news is Ellie is going to be at UGA another two years for graduate school! We will continue to keep in touch. Thank you for the opportunity.
Mentorship = Support for Transfer Students
Joining the UGA Mentor Program and connecting with an alumni mentor is a great first-step for students to prepare for the chapter after college. Connecting with a mentor is an invaluable experience that has taught me a lot about professionalism and networking. My first mentor opened my eyes to the importance of networking because it is used in every industry. What I enjoy about the program is the value it places on self-selection. I found it very comforting that I could select a mentor that had similar interests with me. My first mentor and I are both transfer students at UGA, which allowed me to ask about her experience being a transfer student. Also, I connected with my first mentor, because she played on the UGA Women’s Club Soccer Team that I currently play on. We’ve bonded over our mutual love for soccer and competitiveness. It is important that my peers understand the value of mentorship and connecting with alumni. Alumni are always willing to lend a helping hand.