Working with Faculty
Successful scholarship applicants, as well as academically high-achieving students, benefit from strong faculty support. Many applicants have cultivated working relationships with faculty members who have become faculty mentors to them.
Faculty mentors are experts in your field who can provide guidance and act as sounding boards for your plans and ideas. Sometimes, faculty mentors can connect you with research opportunities, interesting and advanced coursework, or jobs. If your goals and interests align, you may be able to collaborate with faculty mentors on research, courses, or other projects.
You will need to take initiative to find a faculty mentor, and like any mentor-mentee relationship, it seldom starts with an overt “Will you be my mentor?” proposition. Faculty members become mentors after you take the time to discuss coursework, research interests, and often your life outside of the classroom. Mentorship takes shape beyond requests for help on an upcoming paper.
To find a mentor:
– Attend office hours.
– Look for someone in your field who has similar goals to your own.
– Search course offerings, faculty and department websites, and publications in your field.
– Explore SU’s research centers and other initiatives.
– Attend on-campus lectures and panel discussions in your areas of interest.
– Get to know your faculty advisor.
You will need to take initiative to find a faculty mentor. Don’t be afraid to contact faculty or to ask for introductions! Most faculty members became professors because they enjoy talking with students. Take advantage of office hours and ask professors about their research projects, their areas of interest, and how they chose their academic discipline or career path. You may also want to discuss something you found especially fascinating or puzzling in your course reading or class discussion.
A Note for Alumni
Stay in touch with faculty mentors with an email or a written letter. If you’re in Syracuse for a visit, reach out to your faculty mentors in advance and see if they are available for a brief meeting, or coffee or a meal. Professors enjoy hearing from former students, and in order to write a compelling recommendation letter, they will need to know what you have done since graduation and how you have applied your education to your career.