Mentoring Programs

I signed up for the mentor/mentee program at the NCPH annual meeting.  The mentor program matches students and new professionals with ‘veteran’ NCPH conference attendee.  Matches are made based on questionnaires and availability. Today I found out who my mentor will be.  I haven’t previously participated in a mentoring program, so if been putting some thought into what I want to get out of the experience. 

As part of the conference experience I would like to learn more about professional development opportunities with the public history field, how to cope with being a public historian within a large non history based organization, and general networking tips.  Hopefully insight into these areas can be gained through a combination of sessions, tours, networking, and the mentor program.

A quick Google search of my mentor’s name brought up a number of popular history publications written by him.  He has extensive experience writing short and lengthy histories for organizations, the profession, and the general public.  I’m hoping to be able to talk about any advice he might have about both academic and popular publishing.

I think mentoring programs have the potential to be beneficial to both parties.  If both parties are willing to listen and share, there is a pretty good chance both people will end up learning something.  Additionally, bringing professionals from different generations, areas of studies, and geographic locations is always worth the effort in my mind. 

Have you participated in a mentor program before (as a mentor or as a mentee)?  Did you find it to be a rewarding experience?