CFANS Mentor Program: Information for Mentors


Mentor job shadow
Mentors offer a half-day job-shadowing opportunity for their students

The CFANS Mentor Program connects students and post-docs with alumni and professionals to facilitate career exploration, create opportunities for networking, and enhance student’s professional skills.

The student or post-doc you mentor will look to you to enhance their educational experience. As a mentor, you can serve as a resource and take an active role in shaping a future graduate of the college. This program gives you the opportunity to offer your mentee encouragement, support, and the benefit of your experience.

Submit or update your mentor program application by September 27, 2021

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Expectations and Time Commitment

CFANS Mentors are asked to:

  • Commit to mentoring one student during the academic year: from November through mid-May.
  • Meet with your student virtually at least once a month for one hour or more via Zoom, Google Hangouts, or Skype.
  • Offer a half-day job-shadowing opportunity for the student, or connect the student with a colleague/professional if job-shadows cannot be accommodated in your workplace.
  • Provide guidance and support by sharing personal and professional experiences with your student.
  • The format of the 2020 Mentor Program Kick-Off event is still in the process of being finalized due to COVID-19 (whether this event will be held in-person or as a virtual event). Please look for further information closer to the start of Fall Semester 2020.

There is no expectation that internships or employment will result from this experience.

Your Role

You do not have to fulfill every possible function of a mentor to be effective, but it is important to let your mentee know what kind of information or support you are willing to provide. Some ways you can support your student include:

  • Offering general career advice, including resume/cover letter review, informational and practice interviews, and professional development suggestions.
  • Assisting your mentee in developing a career plan with realistic and achievable goals.
  • Helping your mentee learn about career options and connecting them with networking opportunities.
  • Including your student in professional activities and encouraging your student to explore new areas.
  • Following up on commitments made to the student and notifying them if you are unable to attend scheduled meetings.

Getting Matched with a Student

Matches are based on the available students in your area of expertise, student and mentor preferences as indicated in the applications, and the date mentor applications are received and/or updated. We make every attempt at matching the student's major and interests with the mentor's area of expertise whenever possible. You will be notified of your match prior to the Kick-Off event. 

Resources & Challenges

While CFANS has had great success with the Mentor Program, there is a chance that problems may arise. If you have difficulty reaching your student or encounter any problems during the program, immediately contact the Mentor Program Committee at

The College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences Mentor Program is coordinated by the College's Alumni Society and supported by the St. Paul Campus Career Center, along with the support and guidance of the University of Minnesota Alumni Association.  Resources and contacts to assist in mentoring are available on the mentor program resource page.