As part of SIPA’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) efforts, the School has launched the SIPA DEI Alumni-Student Mentoring Initiative as a pilot program during the 2021-22 academic year.

The purpose of the pilot program is to connect students from historically underrepresented groups at SIPA with alumni volunteers to provide career guidance and support during the students' graduate studies and professional advice for after graduation from SIPA. Because space in the pilot program is limited, preference will be given to U.S. students who identify as Black, African-American, or Latinx, while special consideration will be given to other students who identify with underrepresented groups as space permits.

Alumni mentors volunteer their time to share their SIPA and professional experience and knowledge with students to enhance their SIPA experience, while also building a stronger community and professional network for students and alumni of color.  While mentors serve as a valuable career resource to students, they may also gain insights that help them in their own careers.

Program participants will be provided with program guidelines, best practices for the mentor-mentee relationship, and suggested topics for monthly 1:1 meetings.  Alumni volunteers are expected to participate in an orientation with SIPA’s Career Advancement Center in January 2022, which will also be made available as a recording.

Once participants are notified of their matches in February, mentors are asked to initiate contact with their mentee to introduce themselves and schedule their introductory meeting for late February.

The pilot program is a joint initiative of the Career Advancement Center, Alumni Affairs, and Student Affairs.  A committee of staff from these offices will make the matches based on student interests and other information provided by the students and alumni. 

Space in the program is limited. We may not be able to match all participants with a mentor/student.


Alumni who are interested in serving as mentors are asked to complete an application providing information about their professional experience, areas of expertise, and a bio. The bios for alumni who are selected as mentors will be shared with prospective student participants. 

Alumni who would like additional information should contact Susan Storms, Director of Alumni Affairs, at [email protected]


Applications for students will be available on SIPALink during the first week of January along with the mentor bios.  Students will be asked to provide information about their career interests, goals for working with a mentor, and their ranked choices of alumni mentors. The student application deadline is Friday, January 21, 2022

Students who would like additional information should contact Meg Heenehan, Executive Director, Career Advancement Center (CAC), at [email protected], or Blair Dayton, Assistant Director (CAC), at [email protected]

Program Timeline for 2021-22

November 1, 2021 Alumni applications open (priority deadline November 15)
December 2021 Program announcement to students
January 2022 Mentor bios posted for students first week of January; student applications open (January 21 deadline)
January 2022 Orientations for alumni mentors (Wednesday, January 12 at 5:30 pm ET or Friday, January 14 at 12:30 pm ET)
February 2022 Notification to alumni and students of matches; student orientations
February - June 2022 Program participants are encouraged to meet monthly from February through June during this pilot program
March - April 2022 Mid-semester check-in for mentors with Alumni Affairs and for mentees with the Career Advancement Center
Summer 2022 Program evaluations will be distributed to participants