This program is intended to help foster the growth of the University of Minnesota Au.D. students from that of a student in audiology to that of a clinician. First-year Au.D. students are paired up with an audiologist in the community in order to build a professional relationship. The hope is that the student will reach out to their mentor to ask questions about the process of becoming an audiologist. These may include questions regarding what an externship entails (please know that being part of the mentor/mentee program in no way signifies you will take this student on as an extern), interviewing skills, how the licensing process works, billing and reimbursement, and good and/or challenging parts of being an audiologist.
Mentor and mentees are paired up to the best of our abilities based on both the work settings and clinical interests of the student. As a mentor, we understand the difficulty of having a mentee that only has interest in the pediatric population when perhaps you as the mentor you work at a VA hospital. We want both the mentor and the mentee to be excited about being able to have discussions about both their areas of interest!
Mentors are paired up with first year students in their spring semester, allowing the student time to find some areas of interest. It is expected that the mentor will continue with this student through the remainder of the first, second, and third years of schooling (approximately a 2.5-year commitment).
As the coordinator, I truly leave it up to you and your mentee to connect throughout the year. If you happen to live a distance away from the metro area, it is great to use Skype or a simple phone call or email when the mentee has questions. For those in the metro area we would encourage you to try to meet up with your mentee once each semester, and also be available via phone or email for questions. This should not be overwhelming as all of our students are very busy with school, clinic, and work. Please do not think you will be responding to phone calls and emails on a weekly basis.
I do coordinate, along with the president of the Student Academy of Audiology (SAA), an in-person get together with the mentor and mentees once in the fall semester and once in the spring semester. The in person meetings are great to help build rapport and an opportunity to answer questions from other students. These gatherings can range from meeting up for happy hour, going bowling, or putting together a potluck. We are always open to new and creative suggestions!
I would like to stress the importance of joining an amazing program like this, as we all remember being students and having so many questions we want to ask of “real life” audiologists. I know we all get busy with work and other personal obligations but please to keep in mind this program is helping to foster the new upcoming audiologists that will soon be our colleagues!
If you’d like to learn more, please contact Kerry Witherell.