Mentoring Overview

Purpose: The mentoring program is designed to provide academic and social support to women entering the University of Iowa with an interest in a science, mathematics, computer science, engineering, or healthcare. Our philosophy is based on research and practice in the field of mentoring.

Mentors: Mentors volunteer their time and are enthusiastic about meeting first-year students and sharing their experiences. Many mentors are recommended by faculty and staff members in their departments or by their peers. They tend to be third-year students of higher, in order to have experienced internships, study abroad, research, or other involvement that will benefit first-year mentees.

Learn how to APPLY to be a mentor for next academic year.

Mentees: Mentees are first-year women students at the University of Iowa who are majoring in science technology, engineering, or math. Upon acceptance to the university, incoming students who have chosen a major supported under WiSE's structure will receive application information in the mail. Incoming students may also request information directly from WiSE.

Learn how to APPLY to be a mentee for next academic year..

Matching: From the pool of mentors and mentees, each first-year student is matched with an upper-level student on the basis of major/career interest and often-times personal interests as well. In some cases, the matching process results in pairs with similar, but not identical interests.

Teams of four: Each mentor/mentee pair is linked with another pair in a team. These small groups give the mentees a chance to meet other first-year students and provide support for the mentors.

Expectations: Participants are expected to contribute 1½ hours per month to the mentoring program through one-on-one meetings with their mentors or in workshops/seminars. It's a very small commitment for a wonderful and beneficial experience!

  • Workshops/seminars: Each semester WISE plans 2+ evening events. Each workshop is offered on two separate days to better accommodate students' busy schedules. Seminars are offered one time only and typically include supper and interactions with older students and UI staff. Topics are either academic- or career-related and are designed to be beneficial to both mentors and mentees. Sample topics include resume development; study skills; finding study abroad, internship, job shadow, and volunteer opportunities; and talking with a panel of professional women who describe their academic and career paths.
  • Small group meetings: Mentors and mentees are expected to meet at least once per month during the school year, for typically 1-1 ½ hours. In these meetings, mentors share their experiences with courses, introduce the mentees to interesting places on campus and in town, and answer mentees' questions. Often-times mentors and mentees get together in small groups with other program participants. The mentors' support provides encouragement to the first-year students as they meet the challenges of coursework and campus life.

Cost: 

  • Mentees: It costs $175.00 to participate. This fee defrays portion of the administrative costs.The rest of the cost to run the program is covered by donations from corporations including: Accenture, Alliant Energy Foundation, Inc.; Caterpillar Foundation; John Deere Foundation; Fisher Controls / Emerson Charitable Trust; Rockwell Collins. 
  • Mentors: There is no cost for mentors to participate since they are volunteering their time. The WISE program appreciates the mentors' expertise that benefits the first-year students.

Note: Mentors and mentees earn an opportunity to win a $100 gift card to the book store each time they meet or participate in a WiSE event. Five $100 gift certificates to the book store will be given away each semester. 

Outcomes: Previous participants say they gained both information and social support from their mentors. The mentees have learned about specific resources and strategies, but more importantly, they have had someone to talk to who has been through the same transitions and struggles and has experienced similar achievements as the first-year students. The mentors enjoy providing practical tips and intangible encouragement to promising first-year students.

Best Things About the Mentoring Program

Mentors said:
An opportunity to help younger students
Interactions with other women in WISE
The informational seminars
Talking w/ my mentee: she was fabulous!
Hearing experiences of other students
Learning what it means to be a mentor

Mentees said:
Getting much-needed advice
Getting to hang out with great people
Information regarding career planning
Feeling I wasn’t alone on a large campus
Getting an idea of what is ahead
Having an extra resource on campus