Mentor Program

Our mentor program connects public health students to public health professionals to help with career and professional development. Mentoring relationships can benefit both mentors and mentees. For mentees, the program can have a key impact on future career choices. For mentors, helping the next generation of public health leaders can be rewarding and impactful.

The School of Public Health boasts the largest mentor program of any school of public health, serving approximately 400 students and mentors with special events and helpful resources for mentor pairs.

We work to provide students with diverse professional experiences and recognize the role that mentors have in training future public health leaders. These relationships have proven to be enriching and longstanding.

In 2014, Minnesota Business Magazine awarded the School of Public Health Mentor Program with its Leaders in Health Care honor for Education and Workforce Development, and in 2017, the University of Minnesota awarded the program with its Program Extraordinaire- Society award.

Read more about how the Mentor Program has impacted the lives of both students and mentors.


  • The Mentor Program accepts all interested SPH alumni and public health professionals.
  • The Mentor Program runs from October-May of the academic year.

Read the Mentor Guide (PDF)

The application for the 2018-2019 school year will open on August 16, 2018.


  • The Mentor Program is open to all enrolled SPH students.
  • The Mentor Program runs from October-May of the academic year.

Read the Mentee Guide (PDF)

The application for students for the 2018-2019 school year will open on August 30, 2018.

Please contact our office at if you have any questions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Mentoring Committee

The Mentoring Committee was created to support the School’s annual Mentor Program in terms of providing assistance with the recruitment of mentors and the matching process, as well as providing additional content and support for the Program’s participants. Volunteers on this committee also work on programming that connects alumni and students, especially virtual opportunities. Contact Sara Pennebecker ( if you are interested in participating.

Volunteer mentors and students review the student and mentor applications and match participants up at the end of September. We’ll notify students and mentors about their match status the first week in October in time for mentors and students to attend the October 18 Mentor Program Kick-off Breakfast. The program is open only to participants who sign up by the deadline.

The time commitment is determined by the mentor and student during initial meetings. Most mentor pairs choose to communicate approximately 1-3 hours per month, using the communications tools that work best for them or by meeting in person. The program officially runs from October through May.

Mentors and students who apply should be committed to engaging with their match and developing a professional mentor/mentee relationship. This includes communicating on a monthly basis and meeting at events in person when possible.

The mentor program is NOT a job placement program for students. There are no expectations that a job or internship will develop out of this experience.

Yes. Students may request a mentor who lives or works in a specific part of the country or who works in a specific field. Students should indicate these preferences on the Mentor Program application. Mentors who live outside of the state of Minnesota, or even outside of the United States, are encouraged to apply. The matching committee will do its best to match students and mentors accordingly.

The program supports participants by matching participants up appropriately, communicating pair opportunities through a monthly e-newsletter and news updates on this page, and one-on-one guidance. Informal mentoring opportunities at SPH include networking events, career panels, symposiums and lectures, and informational interviews.

MHA student Ellie Madison
It was great to have the perspective of someone who went through my same program, and has also been out in the real world and can share her advice and experiences. –Ellie Madison, MHA 2015
Annie Fedorowicz
Annie Fedorowicz, MPH ’12, serves as a younger mentor, who offers a fresh perspective about school and the job market. “Annie has given me advice on school based on her classes, projects, and experiences,” says Fedorowicz’s mentee Teigan Dwyer, an MPH student in epidemiology. “I’ve been able to look at the big picture of school because of her advice, and it’s helped me plan classes and my master’s project.”
“It’s been interesting to see how the educational program has changed over time,” says Janny Brust, MPH ’87, (right) former director of medical policy and community affairs for Minnesota Council of Health Plans, seen here with her 2014 mentee Love Odetola. “The students change over time too, and get more confident as the year goes on.”
Ellen Saliares, Bridge McKye, and Gary Greenfield
“We’re shaping the future of public health,” says longtime mentor Gary Greenfield, a family planning grants manager at the Minnesota Department of Health. “We help make connections and offer advice as a neutral party.” Here, Greenfield posts with his former mentee Ellen Saliares, MPH ’14 (left) and current mentee Bridge McKye (right).

Contact Information

Sara Pennebecker, Mentor Program Coordinator

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