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Mentoring Program Aims to Help Grad Students Land Jobs

A mentoring program for grad students, by grad students — that’s the idea behind a new leadership initiative in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

The Lead Graduate Professional Skills Collaborative, co-sponsored by The Graduate School, is a group of current doctoral students who will work to implement peer mentoring programs across the college. The goal is to help graduate students — both the mentors and the mentees — hone skills they need to gain a competitive edge in the job market.

Mentoring Program Aims to Help Grad Students Land Jobs

Lead Graduate Professional Skills Collaborative mentors during a planning retreat this summer. Photo courtesy of Deanna Dannels.

Mentors represent all five of the college’s Ph.D. degree programs. After attending a three-day intensive training over the summer, they work in collaboration with other mentors to design peer mentoring initiatives for the college, broadly, or their home department. The mentors will implement these initiatives in the spring and will showcase them to the broader NC State graduate school community during an event at the end of the academic year.  This cohort’s initiatives focus on inclusive mentoring.

Across the nation, most mentoring initiatives are intended to support the faculty/graduate student mentoring relationship, and rightly so, said Deanna Dannels, the college’s associate dean for academic affairs. That relationship is paramount to graduate student satisfaction and positive retention and graduation rates.

“That being said, anyone working with graduate students knows that the faculty/graduate student mentoring relationship is not the only relationship within which mentoring occurs,” Dannels said. “Peer mentoring plays a critical role in students’ navigation through the various aspects of graduate student life.”

Dannels, who developed the collaborative, said the program formalizes peer mentoring that may already occur in apartments, university hallways and graduate student cubicles. “This collaborative is intended to maximize peer mentoring opportunities through a structured program on professional development.”

Mentors serve a one-year term and receive $1,000 for their work. Members of this year’s cohort are:

  • Meridith Reed, Communication, Rhetoric and Digital Media
  • Cristiane Damasceno, Communication, Rhetoric and Digital Media
  • Mary Hano, Public Administration
  • Vincent Reitano, Public Administration
  • Federico Scholcover, Psychology
  • Abby Nance, Psychology
  • Cheryl Dong, Public History
  • Sarah Soleim, Public History
  • Chaniqua Simpson, Sociology
  • Jennifer Lutz, Sociology