cu boulder buffalo statue with mountains in the backgroundAbout the Program

The goal of the IAFS Mentorship Program is to promote connection and professional development by aiding CU’s IAFS majors as they look past graduation and to provide alumni with meaningful opportunities to engage with current students.

IAFS aims to enhance the mentee’s undergraduate experience by offering guidance for areas of study, internship, career development, and related subjects. Sometimes it is helpful to discuss alternative strategies with an independent party, and with someone who is out in a real-world situation putting international affairs experience to work. Mentors can also foster continuing interaction with the IAFS Program, faculty, other alums, the broader CU campus, and the world outside CU. Mentors have taken what they have learned at CU, plus real life, and they can offer invaluable insights to students, giving back to the IAFS program in a meaningful way.

“During a time that has frequently been filled with equal parts uncertainty and nervous excitement for the future, having the opportunity to turn to my mentor for guidance and support over the course of my senior year has been incredible. Trying to figure out the future is daunting and overwhelming at times, but I've found the most value and clarity through connecting with those around me and trying to learn about and explore as many different avenues and opportunities as I can.”

Linnea Martin (IAFS 2022) participated in the IAFS Mentorship Program and will be joining the Indiana Governor’s Fellowship Program after graduation.

The IAFS Mentorship Program is a collaboration between the IAFS Program, the IAFS Advisory Board, and mentors interested in assisting IAFS juniors and seniors currently enrolled at CU.

Each semester, the program solicits applications from interested IAFS students and pairs them with mentors. A group consisting of at least three people from the IAFS Mentorship Program review the applications, working to match mentors to mentees based on career interests, functional areas of study, geographic locations, educational and career pursuits, etc. The group will consist of an IAFS Student Advisor, a member of the IAFS Program leadership and an IAFS Advisory Board member. Prospective mentors are encouraged to contact IAFS at if interested in participating.

Once assigned, mentors and mentees are encouraged to interact as often as they would like, but they agree to meet at least once per month for the duration of the semester. These meetings may be in person or virtual, depending on availability. 

Throughout the semester, the IAFS Mentorship Program will provide a series of modules for mentors and mentees as a starting point for discussions on professional development, job searches, networking, and other relevant topics. In addition, the IAFS Mentorship Program will also share other resources and publicize events that mentors and mentees are encouraged to participate in together.

The application window for both students interested in becoming mentees and alumni interested in becoming mentors is listed below.  If you have any questions about the application process, please don’t hesitate to contact us (see below for contact details).

Mentee & Mentor Application Window 

Mentee Application - Applications Closed

Mentor Application - Applications Closed

Mentor & Mentee matching announcements - January 13, 2023

As part of their application, mentees must have a completed resume, answer questions about their professional interests, and meet with CU’s Career Services. As juniors and seniors majoring in IAFS at CU Boulder, the mentees have a broad range of thematic and geographic interests.  Some are interested in pursuing postgraduate study, while others intend to enter the workforce immediately upon graduation.

Mentee Expectations

  • Professionally engage with mentor by following through on commitments (including attendance at agreed upon meetings), preparing in advance of discussions with mentor, and communicating respectfully;
  • Take ownership of opportunities to further one’s career (it is not the responsibility of the mentor to “deliver a job”);
  • Meet by whatever communication mode works for the pair (phone call, Zoom, in person) at least once per month;
  • Maintaining confidentiality of mentor;
  • Provide feedback to the IAFS Mentorship Program to improve future experiences;
  • Be a good listener, maintain a sense of humor, and enjoy the experience.
  • Once established in one’s career, “pay it forward” to current IAFS students.

All mentors participate voluntarily, sharing real life experience and perspectives to help students pursue future career plans after graduation.  Again, there is no expectation that a mentor provide employment directly, but rather provide advice, act as a sounding board, and link the mentee to professional development resources.  In many cases, mentors are alumni of the University of Colorado and the IAFS major specifically.

Mentor Expectations

  • Be assigned one mentee per year (although mentorship is encouraged to continue longer, if the mentee/mentor so choose);
  • Professionally engage with mentee by following through on commitments (including attendance at agreed upon meetings), preparing in advance of discussions, and communicating respectfully;
  • Meet by whatever communication mode works for the pair (phone call, Zoom, in person) at least once per month;
  • Maintain confidentiality of the mentee;
  • Provide feedback to the IAFS Mentorship Program to improve future experiences;
  • Be a good listener, maintain a sense of humor, and enjoy the experience.

Mentorship Program Resources

This schedule is intended to provide structure to the IAFS Mentorship Program and to equip both mentors and mentees with a starting point for fruitful discussion on career development. 

Each month, the Mentorship Program coordinator will send monthly emails with upcoming programs, additional information, and recommended discussion topics. These are recommendations only. Participants are welcome to adjust this schedule and rearrange as they see fit, so long as they meet monthly.

Goal: Mentee will get feedback and discussion about resume and Linkedin profile


Recommended discussion preparation:

  • Mentee: send mentor updated resume and LinkedIn profile
  • Mentor: review mentee's resume and LinkedIn profile

Discussion questions:

  • What caught your attention, positively or less positively?
  • What edits, if any, does the mentor suggest?
  • If you Google your name, what shows up?

Goal: Mentee will discover and discuss possible career paths based upon strengths and interests


Recommended preparation:

  • Mentee: complete the Youscience self-assessment & share results with mentor
  • Mentor: review mentee's assessment results

Discussion questions:

  • Are there any themes or trends in the assessment results? Are there certain values, environments, or responsibilities that standout?
  • What surprised the mentee most about their results?
  • What kinds of careers might align with the mentee's results and interests?
  • Considering the mentee's career interests and the cost of graduate school, does a postgraduate program make sense financially?

Goal: Mentee and mentor establish short-term goals and action plan for career pursuits


Recommended preparation:

  • Mentee: develop plan to prepare for post-graduation throughout the remaining academic year, identify and outline SMART goals, and send plan to mentor for review
  • Mentor: review mentee's plan

Discussion questions:

  • To set up the mentee for success, what activities would help the mentee land a role in a desired company or organization? When do these activities need to be accomplished?
  • What relevant events (career fairs, internships, application windows, etc.) are upcoming that might be relevant to the mentee's search?

Goal: Mentor and mentee conduct mock job interview to share feedback, improve skills, and provide mentee with experience


Recommended preparation:

  • Mentee: prepare for interview
  • Mentor: prepare interview questions ahead of meeting relevant to the mentee’s desired career/position

Activity: Mentor plays the role of interviewer for the mentee at prospective company. Following the mock interview, both the mentor and mentee debrief and share feedback on the experience.

Goal: Mentee and mentor engage in discussion about networking and mentorship in a professional context


Recommended preparation:

  • Mentee: develop an elevator pitch for a prospective employer you are interested in working for
  • Mentor: consider how networking and mentorship have played a role in your own career development

Discussion questions:

  • How might the mentee leverage existing networks to develop professional connections and seek desired employment?
  • How has mentorship and networking played a role in the mentor's own career development?
  • How might the mentee learn more about prospective career opportunities through informational interviews and elevator pitches?

Goal: Mentee and mentor discuss how culture and values relate to meaningful work and how to identify the "right fit"


Recommended preparation:

  • Mentee: identify and develop a list of values that are important to you and the career you'd like to pursue; be ready to discuss these values with your mentor
  • Mentor: reflect on your own experience and be prepared to describe how culture and values have shaped your own career

Discussion questions:

  • What kind of values and culture do you seek in the workplace? Which of these values are essential to you?
  • Have you ever been in a professional situation where it was clear that the values on display conflicted with your own? How did you respond?
  • How might the mentee learn more about the culture and values of prospective employers moving forward?

Goal: Mentee and mentor discuss how to approach future career changes, given the pace of change in today’s workplace. The intent of this module is to reassure the mentee and examine how a professional gracefully leaves a position or company in pursuit of other opportunities.


Recommended preparation:

  • Mentee: review the discussion questions below and consider answers prior to meeting with mentor
  • Mentor: reflect on your own experience and any career changes you’ve made throughout your own career

Discussion questions:

  • For the mentee, do you have any concerns about going to graduate school or entering the workforce? If so, what are they?
  • In the mentor’s experience, how has networking helped or hindered career changes?
  • What types of skills would you like to develop early in your career that might help achieve longer-term goals?

Goal: Mentee and mentor share long-term goals, vision, and future plans


Recommended preparation:

  • Mentee: revisit Youscience results (take assessment if not already completed) and consider long-term professional goals
  • Mentor: consider how your long-term career goals have (or have not) changed over time and be ready to share about your own experience

Discussion questions:

  • What are your long-term career goals?  What skills will be important in order to achieve these goals?
  • What does it mean to build a "resilient career"? 
  • Would the mentor and mentee be interested in continuing this correspondence?

Contact Information & Feedback

Throughout the course of the program, both mentors and mentees are encouraged to contact us should an issue arise. Additionally, the program welcomes feedback from all participants to improve future mentorship experiences.

For Mentors
Evan Hanson
IAFS Advisory Board Mentorship Program Coordinator

For Mentees
International Affairs Program
University of Colorado Boulder
121 UCB, Boulder CO 80309