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Carolina MPA Alumni Mentor Program

Carolina MPA alumni are a critical part of the success of the program. Frequently, alumni offer paths to internships/practicums or even employment. Alumni connect naturally with each other and stay in touch throughout their careers.

The Carolina MPA Alumni Mentor Program is intended to facilitate those connections in a more formal way by matching MPA alumni with current MPA students in a mentor/mentee relationship.

Student Benefits

  • Form relationships that enhance your experience and enable professional growth
  • Test ideas with and gain insight from your mentor
  • Experience an ongoing professional networking opportunity

Alumni Benefits

  • Serve as a role model to future public service leaders
  • Share accumulated knowledge and wisdom
  • Engage with the program in a way that makes a direct impact

Application Information

Alumni and students submit applications to be a mentor or mentee. Matches are made by the MPA Program Office staff, who will provide formal introductions after the matching process occurs. Staff will make the best effort to match a student and alumni whose career paths align in some way, though we ask that participants keep in mind that transferable skills and experiences can apply across sectors.

Once the matching has occurred, the mentor and mentee must review an onboarding PowerPoint presentation that sets expectations and best practices around the program (see link below).

The onus is on the student and alumni to cultivate their mentoring relationship. The minimal commitment expected for the mentor and mentee consists of four meetings throughout the year, either in person, by phone, or on the 2SG adobe connect platform.

How to Apply

Applications are currently open and will remain open until Monday, October 16, 2019. Mentoring relationship will run from November 2019 to August 2020.

  • To apply to serve as an alumni mentor, click here.
  • To apply to be a current student mentee and be matched with an alumni mentor, click here.

Onboarding for Mentors/Mentees

Once the application and matching occurrs, both the alumni mentor and the current student mentee must review a PowerPoint presentation that sets expectations and best practices around this program:

  • Click here to view the alumni mentor onboarding PowerPoint module.
  • Click here to view the alumni mentee onboarding PowerPoint module.

More Information

The MPA Alumni Mentor Guide outlines general expectations for the alumni mentoring relationship as well as provides the Statement of Mutual Understanding form that is required to be completed before the mentoring relationship officially begins. This Statement of Mutual Understanding is an agreement through which the alumni and current student formalize their specific understanding about the relationship and submit to the MPA Program Office.

Additional Resources

  • For mentoring relationships that will be fostered using the online platform, a guide with instructions on how to access and utilize the platform can be found here.
  • Periodically the MPA Program Office will communicate to the program participants to offer some suggestions on conversation prompts for their next meeting.  A sample of those prompts are noted below.

Mentor's Career Field:

  • How do people find out about jobs in your field? How are they advertised? Is word of mouth more important?
  • What would help me to learn more about this field?
  • What else should I be doing? What other courses or experience do I need?

Mentor's Career Path:

  • Five or ten years ago, did you expect to be where you are now?
  • How did you prepare for this kind of work? How do most people prepare for it?

Mentor’s Present Job:

  • What do you find most rewarding about the work?
  • How long do most people stay in your job?
  • Do you see your current job as a step to another one?
  • What are the most difficult aspects of your job?
  • If you were ever to leave this kind of work, what would drive you away from it?
  • When you hire people, what matters to you most in terms of qualifications and personal attributes?


  • Students in the online and on campus formats take the same classes and have similar experiences. The requirements for the program are the same for each (and may differ from when you were a student).
  • The adobe connect platform through 2SG is a great way to connect face-to-face if you and your mentee do not live in the same area, please don’t let distance be an obstacle.
  • The skills and insights you have gained and can contribute are most likely transferable across sectors and interest areas!