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Teacher, Supervisor, Listener: Mentoring a Staff Intern

posted September 23, 1998

Ask Art Mahoney about mentoring an intern and he is quick to point out that mentors wear many hats. "I have mentored several students and I'm currently co-mentoring a staff intern through the Staff Internship Program," says Mahoney. "The main roles I've had as a mentor include being a teacher, a day-to-day supervisor, and a good listener."

Mahoney, a specialist in Environment, Health & Safety, and Susan Spencer, Director of EH&S, are co-mentoring Thom Koupal. Koupal is interning as an EH&S principal technician, overseeing the campus chemical inventory program.

"The mentor is key to an internship's success," says Chris Murchison, analyst for the Staff Internship Program. "Through the roles of teacher, supervisor, coach, career advisor, role model and referral/networking guide, mentors ensure that the internship project is completed successfully and the intern meets his or her learning and career goals."

To share the time demands, many managers, like Mahoney and Spencer, have co-mentored an intern.

Since 1989, more than 130 campus managers have mentored in the Staff Internship Program. "Mentoring has been very personally rewarding to me; I enjoy participating in the intern's learning process," says Mahoney.

Other benefits cited by mentors are the ability to accomplish critical work; the opportunity to sharpen management, coaching and communication skills; the opportunity to teach; and the chance to gain new perspectives from the eyes of an intern. A staff internship can also be a creative way to try out a new position before committing permanent funds.

Staff interns also benefit from the program, gaining new skills and knowledge, developing important new relationships, and expanding their institutional understanding. Additionally, more than 80 percent of staff interns meet their career goals with a promotion, reclassification or lateral transfer within one year of completing their internships.

The Staff Internship Program is seeking proposals from managers and supervisors who want to mentor staff interns. The deadline for funding proposals is Friday, October 23.

Applications for mentors to receive funding for staff internships are available from the Staff Internship Program. Call 643-6189, email, or check the website: Applications are due Oct. 23.


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