Blog Post #3: Student Identities in Mentorship

The University Mentorship Program is the University of Michigan’s oldest and most established mentorship program and non-residential learning community. Even though there are several mentorship programs for students of specific social identities or academic interests, the Mentorship Program is open to all students. The beauty of this is that there are students of all social and academic backgrounds who participate in the program.

We also have peer mentors and faculty mentors from various backgrounds and departments. For an example, a few of our mentors are from schools like Ross, Taubman, Engineering, Ford, and so forth. We also have faculty mentors who work in university resource departments such as CSP, ICPSR, and CPO. Whatever your interest, there is someone who is either directly involved with it – or knows or someone who can help you better understand and explore that interest.

We do our best to accommodate the needs of the incoming class of mentees. As each of the mentees has a unique set of individual and group identities, we review each accepted applicant to determine what mentor is best equipped to provide the mentorship and resources that will be most beneficial to the mentee. As someone who is expected to create these groupings, I have to think a lot about what the different social identities. Some of the students prefer to be around people from a different background or academic interest from them. Others are relying on the Mentorship Program to provide them with the comfort of other people who are similar to them and able to assist them in the transition of being a college freshman.

Being a summer coordinator has also required me to be in constant communication with the various participants of the program. Having to make sure that the mentees and mentors are receiving the support they need and engaging with their groups has given me the communication and problem solving skills that are required in ensuring the success of the program. It has also made me more aware of many social identities as I worked to accommodate to each member’s preferences, requests, and concerns.  

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