2010 Landscape Architecture Mentor Program

The Mentor Program pairs practitioners with students based upon student needs and interests as well as professional skills and experience. We believe that this relationship will enable students to gain a better understanding of professional expectations while also giving practitioners the opportunity to see what is happening at the academic level.

Participants determine how much time  to commit to the relationship, although all are encouraged to be in active contact in order to get the most benefit from the program. Some examples of activities  include informal meetings to talk, network, etc; inviting mentors to critiques or sending them work to provide feedback; attending events or conferences that you are both interested in; and office tours are always popular.  Most professionals are from the Triangle area, but if students are planning on practicing elsewhere after graduations matches may be possible with professionals in that location.

Following a highly successful program over the past year the 2010 LAR Mentor Program is beginning  underway for the upcoming semesters. John Watts, a recent MLA graduate, will be stepping down as student coordinator after years of hard work and dedication. However, he will continue to help with the program’s operations during the transition. The student body and the faculty would like to thank him graciously for reinvigorating the program and forming it into what it is today. Martha Eberle, a second year MLA student, is taking the reigns and bringing the program into this academic year. Stephanie Coble, a graduate of the MLA program and a Site Designer with HagerSmith in Raleigh, is serving as the professional liaison to the program.

Over the last school year the Mentor Program had the highest numbers of involvement of both students and mentors since its inception. All in all there were 45 mentors active in the program and 60 students (almost half of all LAR students). According to a recent survey conducted among mentors and mentees, there were a variety of experiences in the program, but the most common responses were very positive. The overwhelming majority of mentors reported being satisfied with their experience and felt that they had been an effective adviser to their mentee. Students reported similarly, generally citing that the program had provided a valuable opportunity to get additional feedback on projects and make local connections to the professional world.  Suggestions for improvement included time management issues and improving communication regarding needs and expectations.

The kick-off event for the 2010/2011 school year is tentatively scheduled for October 1 in order to allow ample interaction opportunities between mentors and mentees throughout fall and spring semesters.  In the meantime we will be contacting potential mentors and assigning students to an appropriate match.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the program last year. We are looking forward to another great year and encourage everyone to be involved in the program. Students and mentors should keep an eye out for information over the next few weeks about the pairing process and upcoming events.

-Martha Eberle