This year, over 150 students are participating in the one-on-one mentor program. Highlighting the stories of mentor and mentee pairs not only demonstrates the wonderful contribution that mentors make to students' professional development but also encourages more significant relationships in other mentor and mentee pairs. This month’s featured pair is MSCAPP student Loren Hinkson and her mentor George Letavish, Manager of Pilot Program Development at Citi Tech Collaborative.

Do you have an outstanding mentor or mentee? Email [email protected] for the chance to share your experience.

Loren Hinkson, Mentee:

What have you learned from your mentor this year?

George has helped me learn more about the civic tech landscape and how data science is being applied in that space through his own experiences.

What can mentors provide to students above and beyond what they learn in class?

My mentor has been great about giving candid feedback about my resume and application documents; helping me expand my network and research possible careers, including suggesting companies for me to consider post-graduation based on my skill set and interests; and sharing his experiences in multiple sectors across different stages of his work experience with me as I decide where I will be applying.

What attracted you to the mentorship program?

I was interested in learning more about the application of technology to social issues at the municipal level, and was really excited about the selection of mentors working at the intersection of technology/data science and policy.

What have you appreciated most about your relationship with your mentor?

Over the last six months, my mentor has really made me value coffee chats! He's connected me to a good portion of his network working in civic tech, data science, and policy analysis to learn about their roles, their organizations, the skillsets they use, and for those who are Harris alums, which courses they've found most helpful. I've gotten information I never would have found just doing company research on my own, and been exposed to organizations I would not have thought to explore previously, but am now really interested in applying to.

Will you be interested in mentoring students after you graduate?


George Letavish, Mentor:

Why did you want to participate in the mentor program?

I've had strong mentors in my life, and I remember how helpful they were while I was at Harris and transitioning back into the job market. I know that students are balancing a lot of responsibilities in their lives and that this time can be stressful. I wanted to participate in the mentorship program with the hope that I can reduce some of their anxiety and make the transition a little easier.

Have you had mentors in your life? How did they impact you and how has that shaped your professional career?

I've been fortunate enough to have mentors throughout my life and career. Their direct impacts differed based on the stage in my life I was at, but they also shared some general characteristics. They helped me focus on my strengths and core interests when I was navigating complex situations and uncertain about where to go or what to do. They provided a soft landing and picked me up when I fell. They prevented me from making mistakes. They saw opportunities and challenges that I never would have thought of. They shared their experiences and wisdom to make me more effective. Without their assistance, I wouldn't have the same level of skills and capabilities that I have today, and the road would have been a lot bumpier

What have you liked most about working with your current mentee?

After talking to her for just a few minutes, you can tell how passionate she is, and that energizes me to try and help her achieve her goals. She's very intelligent, hard-working, and talented, and I know that she'll be successful in whatever she decides to pursue. I'm invested in trying to connect her to the right people and organizations so that she has great opportunities to choose from, and hopefully I can make those options seem a little clearer.

What do you believe is the key(s) to a successful mentor/mentee relationship?

Honesty. Maybe the next step after Harris will be an easy decision, but she's likely to face choices with different tradeoffs. She has to be willing to put in a lot of thoughtful work and be honest with herself about her interests, strengths, weaknesses, and the factors that are most important to her to achieve her personal and professional goals. Then she has to be open to communicating this information to me. I have to be honest with her based on my own personal and professional experiences, even if we have a different perspective or opinion.