Undergraduate Mentorship Program for Fall 2018

The Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences (ICS) and the Henry Samueli School of Engineering (HSSoE) Diversity Committee’s objective to support retention of women and students traditionally underrepresented in the fields of engineering and computer science inspired the inception of the Undergraduate Mentorship Program. The program, comprised of alumni, community members and industry professionals, forms meaningful relationships with students where they explore career interests, academic guidance and personal development.

The Undergraduate Mentorship Program begins in November and ends the following June with matches made in December. Flexible in its structure, the program allows mentors and students to interact at a pace comfortable for both parties and based on each individual’s needs. Mentors are available to discuss a wide variety of topics ranging from networking, study skills, career guidance, hobbies, course selection and resume tips to name a few.

Benefits of the Mentoring Relationship

There is a wealth of knowledge and experience to be gained that is often unattainable within the confines of the classroom. The Undergraduate Mentorship Program strives to enrich the student’s undergraduate education by connecting the student (mentee) with an experienced professional (mentor) who can significantly enrich the student’s educational experience through guidance, shared interests, support and knowledge.

Professional Growth and Opportunities

As the technology field becomes more integrative and cross-disciplinary, it is important that students are exposed to the myriad of professional opportunities that integrate computer science and engineering with medicine, business, social sciences and other fields of study. Mentors are willing to guide their mentees as well as partake in networking events to impart the knowledge needed to attain fulfilling and rewarding careers*.

The program is designed to complement the education students receive in the classroom through support and knowledge, further preparing them to succeed after graduation. Although the program’s objective is retention, not a career placement, many students have advanced employment opportunities through the job shadowing, internship and networking opportunities that have directly resulted from participating in the program.

Roles and Responsibilities

It is both the mentor and the student’s responsibility to keep in regular contact with each other. Students should check in their mentor at a minimum of once a month. More frequent contact is highly advised. The Office of Access and Inclusion will sponsor events, programs and activities throughout the year to learn, network and socialize. Opportunities for interaction include:

  • HSSoE and ICS workshops
  • Volunteer opportunities
  • Cultural and social events

The Matching Process

The students complete an application form outlining key information such their major, year of study, personal interests as well professional and personal goals. Students are matched based upon the mentor's background, interests and experience.

Recruitment of mentors is carried out on an ongoing basis. All prospective mentors will meet with the program coordinator where an interview and informational session will take place. This is a retention program, therefore this step is required prior to placement to ensure that the best matches possible are made.

The match will be made after the Welcome Reception in November. The mentor and mentee will receive an email with contact information needed to make the connection.


Q: Will this program take up a lot of my time, and is it a long-term commitment?
A: The level of involvement is determined by the mentor's time availability and the nature of the mentor/mentee relationship. We do recommend frequent contact for a successful relationship and ask that you commit to a minimum of one e-mail or phone call every month. Mentors and students are matched for the academic year with the option to continue the relationship during the summer or be matched with someone new in the fall.

Q: What type of activity is conducive to establishing a good mentor/mentee relationship?
A: Consistent communication is key. Workplace visits, resume review, informational mock interviews, conversations about life after college or attending a school event are also appropriate activities that help establish the mentor/mentee relationship.

Q: Who makes the initial contact?
A: Students are encouraged to make the first contact, but both mentors and mentees are asked to contact each other as soon as contact information is made available.

Q: How are students matched with mentors?
A: Mentors are matched based on their profiles. Student participation is on a first-come, first-served basis. Although we anticipate all mentors being matched, we cannot guarantee that a match will take place.

Q: Can I participate in the mentoring program even though I don't work/live close to UCI?
A: Yes, you can be a mentor even if you do not live or work close to UCI, or if you have a hectic travel schedule, as long as you and your mentee remain committed to the relationship and maintain contact via e-mail and/or telephone.

Q: What is the Office of External Relations’ role in the Mentor Program?
A: The Office of External Relations at ICS and Engineering provides the opportunity for mentors and students to interact with each other. Guidelines for the program and mentor/mentee matches are set through this office, and the program administrator organizes the first reception where mentors and mentees get a chance to meet. Problems and concerns should be directed to the program administrator. The structure of the relationship and frequency of interaction is left to the mentor/mentee team to accommodate individual preferences and a variety of mentoring needs.

Q: Whom can I contact if I have any questions?
A: Please feel free to contact Antigone Blackwell from the ICS and Engineering Office of External Relations at (949) 824-4588 or ablackwe@uci.edu about questions or concerns regarding mentoring relationships.

*The Undergraduate Mentorship Program is not intended to be a career placement service, and mentors are not required, nor expected, to provide job placement for students participating in the program.