The LSC mentoring program is an invaluable resource for students who are interested in exploring life after college, making connections in industry, and investigating graduate school. LSC mentors support students from their first day at UW-Madison to their graduation and beyond.
LSC’s mentoring program was initially started to build additional bridges between students and faculty within the major. According to Dietram Scheufele, LSC Professor and Director of Academic programs when the program was founded, “One of weaknesses at large public universities is that [students] often don’t have as much exposure to faculty as they could or should.”
Every LSC student has an assigned faculty mentor as soon as they enroll in the program. Faculty mentors are professors and teaching faculty in the department who provide students with support for career exploration and post-graduation planning. Mentors can also serve as a gateway into the communications industry, business or graduate school, and are a great resource for networking and making connections for students.
“The purpose of this is to have a career advisor or a career guide,” says Don Stanley, teaching faculty at LSC and a mentor in the program. Most LSC students start preparing for their future careers long before graduation, and mentors can provide valuable advice about what classes or opportunities would be most useful to mentees. For mentees, meeting with their mentors can be as simple as chatting about life over coffee to asking for advice about studying abroad.
Stanley himself was heavily influenced by the connections he made with LSC faculty, which led him to pursue graduate studies and a career in the field. Stanley has maintained relationships with many of his students post-graduation, including students from his first year of teaching over 20 years ago. Other mentors, including Scheufele, remain in contact with their mentees post graduation, often helping them find jobs and connections within the communications field and beyond.
“What I always tell students is that the value of talking to your mentor is, in my experience, the best way to network,” says Madeline Fisher, a teaching faculty in the department. “I’m always happy to send people to other people I know who might be doing communications work that they are interested in.” These types of connections give students a head start post-graduation, making the transition from student to communications leader seamlessly.
“I think the biggest thing for me has been reassurance,” says Emma Roberts, a senior majoring in LSC and genetics, who has been meeting with her mentor Dominique Brossard since she joined the major. “My career path isn’t necessarily straightforward like a lot of my peers going straight into med school or have a post-graduation job already lined up, so for me Brossard’s mentorship reassures me that there is someone in LSC that is looking out for me and my best interests, besides the academic advisors.”
Overall, the LSC mentoring program provides valuable support and resources for students as they navigate their academic and post-graduation plans. The program’s commitment to connecting students with faculty sets students up for success and helps them build a strong foundation for their future careers.
Written by: Julia Wiessing, LSC B.S. ’23 and LSC’s 2022-2023 Lenore Landry Scholar
Published: March 2023