As we turn the page on five remarkable years of the inaugural LSA Mentorship Program, it’s a time of reflection, celebration, and future thinking. The program’s journey, from its inception in 2021 with 25 student-alum pairs to 128 matches in the latest 2023-2024 cohort, tells a story of growth, positive testimonials, and resounding student impact. 

Mentorship is a pivotal piece of the professional development process, yet not all students have the same access to this invaluable resource. To address this, we launched LSA Connect, a virtual mentorship platform provided by the Gerstein Family, aimed at democratizing opportunity and fostering inclusivity. The program’s ethos is rooted in the belief that when students see the varied paths taken by other LSA Wolverines, they catch a glimpse of what could be possible for themselves. 

But we also recognize that every student’s journey is unique and deserves personalized attention and guidance, whether from a professional career coach or an alum working in the field. Hence, the LSA Mentorship Program was born, to provide longer and deeper mentoring opportunities.

Facilitating Growth & Connection

With the LSA Mentorship Program, we have facilitated over 462 student-alum connections in just five years, creating individualized and meaningful mentor-mentee relationships. Through one-on-one matches, students and alums collaborate to establish and pursue clear career or professional development goals. This tailored approach ensures that every participant’s ambitions are heard and nurtured. 

As our program has evolved, the feedback from participants has been overwhelmingly positive, often highlighting the increased confidence, clarity, and connections gained through the experience. 

“It was an enriching experience to share the stage with my remarkable mentee,” says Brandon Bond, a U-M LSA alum and mentor. “Now more than ever we need to invest in opportunities that allow for nurturing connections, exchanging knowledge, and providing developmental opportunities for our student and youth community. Witnessing the growth and progress of both [my mentee] and myself throughout this program has been immensely gratifying.”

Looking Ahead

Our alums play a pivotal role in guiding and supporting LSA students, sharing their time, insights, and experiences, helping students navigate the complexities of career development. A perfect example of this support is the Gerstein Family who are the authors of the program and generously contributed to make both LSA Connect and the LSA Mentorship Program a reality.

As we look ahead, we seek to reach even more students, continue refining our offerings to meet the evolving needs of the LSA community, and with your help, expand our alum network. 

If you are or an alum friend you know is interested in advancing equity and nurturing LSA Wolverines, look out for our next call for applications for the 2024-2025 academic year in August.