Mentor - How can the first year affinity programming help me?

How can the affinity group help me?

First year affinity groups provide invaluable professional development and guidance to first-year students. First Year Mentors are uniquely equipped to guide students on the courses, internships, and skills that will be most beneficial to their careers and to provide insights on launching careers in public policy. They help students clarify their career interests, develop professional  skills, and build connections and community at Harris and beyond.

Connecting first-years to other students with similar interests also allows the students to bounce ideas off one another and to learn more about their peers’ experiences and perspectives. The insight gained from these connections can be valuable to first-years as they consider their path at Harris and beyond. Some affinity group connections also lead to collaborations and relationships outside the scope of the Mentor Program, such as teaming up for policy competitions.

Mentor - How are the affinity groups assigned?

How are the affinity groups assigned?

Students are able to sign up for a maximum of three affinity groups.  The affinity groups have been created based on the expertise of our mentors, the history of first year student interests, as well as the particular interest areas of the incoming class. Mentors for the group are selected based on professional experience that is in line with the career interests of the students in the group. Where possible, we try to recruit mentors who have varied backgrounds. For example, in an affinity group based on energy and environmental policy there may be mentors who have worked in government on environmental issues, others who have worked for international nonprofits, and others who work for research organizations that focus on environmental issues.  

Mentor - How often do the groups meet?

How often do the groups meet?

There will be 1-2 affinity group programs per quarter.  Each program will have a different professional development focus: i.e. one program could be focused on translating academic courses to career preparedness, while another might be focused on advocacy and presentation. In addition to the quarterly meetings, there may be other events when the students in the group participate in a training or event that mentors do not need to attend. 

Mentor - Will one of the mentors in my affinity group also be my mentor next year?

Will one of the mentors in my affinity group also be my mentor next year?

Most likely not.  In some cases, mentors might choose to participate in affinity groups and/or one-on-one mentorships, but, more often than not, mentors will continue in their current role with a new group of students. If one of your first year mentors is available in the second year, we cannot guarantee a match with them, as they would be available to all students in the second year bidding process.

Mentor - Why are there different kinds of mentors?

Why are there different kinds of mentors?

The structure of the Mentor Program allows us to utilize mentors strategically in the first year, when students are often looking for guidance in the field of professional development, while still providing the value of a one-on-one mentorship in the second year, when students are focused on networking, securing employment, and preparing to enter the professional world.

Mentor - How do one-on-one mentors help students?

How do one-on-one mentors help students?

Mentors can provide personal support, guidance, and advice based on your interests and their extensive experience. They can also help you to refine your career goals, practice interview skills, connect to their expansive network.