Working with faculty can be intimidating at first. Students rarely formally walk up to a professor and ask, “Will you be my mentor?” The process is usually much more subtle and natural. Asking a faculty member for advice on a project, a piece of art, dance, etc. is one way these relationships begin. Overall, this process should develop naturally and, like any relationship, should be based on positive chemistry with the person instead of age, race, or gender. Most faculty members have chosen to work in education because they enjoy helping people learn, and serving as a mentor is another way they fill that role. 

Why mentors are important
  • A mentor will get you started.
  • You learn from someone who walks the walk.
  • Mentors will build your confidence.
  • Mentors can become a resource for life.
Famous mentors/mentees
  • Bob Dylan was mentored by Woody Guthrie
  • Audrey Hepburn mentored Elizabeth Taylor
  • Steve Jobs mentored Mark Zuckerburg
  • Henry David Thoreau was mentored by Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Harry Potter was mentored by Albus Dumbledore
How can you connect to faculty mentors?
  • Build positive relationships with professors in class. Come to class on time, prepared, and ask good questions.
  • Do your best work. Turn in work on time. Ask for feedback on how you can do better.
  • Attend university-sponsored social or cultural events that faculty also attend.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask advice from a professor you look up to. Let the relationship grow naturally.

“If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room” -Anonymous


Dan Gheesling. (2012). Why you need a mentor to be successful
Peer Systems Consulting Group (2015, June 17). The Mentor Hall of Fame
TEDxOverlake - Karen Russell- Modern Mentoring: The Good, The Bad, and The Better
Find mentors and make them matter
How to start a mentorship relationship
Business Insider mentor pairs