Current Students

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.


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

Read the Mentor Program Guide (PDF)

Review the Mentor Application Overview (PDF)

We are recruiting mentors for the 2021-2022 school year. Learn more about our program and apply to mentor a student by September 24, 2021.


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

All current SPH students, including new and returning students, are invited to participate in the SPH Mentor Program. If you have not participated in the program before, plan to attend a required virtual info session. During the session you will learn about expectations, what mentoring is and is not, resources, and how to sign up for the program. Students who have not participated in the Mentor Program before must attend a session to sign up for the program this year:

If you are a returning student and have participated in the program before, please complete this form to indicate your interest in participating in the program again this year.

The deadline to apply is Monday, September 20. Unfortunately, we are unable to accept late applications due to the volume of interest for this program.

If you have questions or are unable to attend one of the sessions, please contact Sara Pennebecker, SPH Mentor Program coordinator, at

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get a mentor/student?

All mentors and mentees (even those who participated last year) must apply by the application deadline to be considered for participation in the program this year. Mentors and mentees are notified about their match status by October 5. The program is open only to participants who sign up by the deadline.

What is the time commitment?

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 April.

What is expected of mentor pairs?

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.

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.

Can I participate as a mentor or mentee if I don't live locally?

Yes. Many of our mentees and mentors do not live locally in the Twin Cities. Mentors who live outside of the state of Minnesota, or even outside of the United States, are encouraged to apply.

How does the program support me?

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.

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.

Contact Information

Sara Pennebecker, Mentor Program Coordinator

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).
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