Welcome to the 1stGen@Iowa Mentor Network!

Hundreds of University of Iowa faculty and staff have volunteered to serve as mentors and advocates for first-generation students by participating in the 1stGen@Iowa Mentor Network. Mentors are listed on our website so first-gen students can easily find and contact them directly. 1stGen@Iowa mentors are dedicated to celebrating first-generation students, disseminating important information and special announcements via their communication channels, and being part of our campus-wide network of support for first-generation students.

The 1stGen@Iowa Mentor Network isn't necessarily about formal programming. Instead, it's about making connections, and this website serves as a hub for this, connecting first-gen students with faculty and staff across campus who want to help them succeed.

Graduate and professional students... this network is for you too!

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What is the 1stGen@Iowa Mentor Network?

How does the 1stGen@Iowa Mentor Network... work?

The 1stGen@Iowa Mentor Network is an informal mentoring network that provides a space for first-gen students to ask questions and make useful connections. Mentors and mentees are not formally matched and students can contact a mentor whenever they have a question or need assistance. 

Here's how it works:

  1. Faculty and staff volunteer to be listed as a 1stGen@Iowa mentor and their contact information is added to this website.
  2. First-gen students who want to connect with someone in a specific department can search this website to see if anyone in that area has volunteered to be a connection point for first-gen students.
  3. First-gen students can contact a 1stGen@Iowa mentor knowing that person is looking forward to hearing from them. They've already committed themselves to serving as a resource for first-gen students! Remember that not all mentors are available to serve as long-term mentors; some may only be available to address a question and then connect you with someone else.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this activity, please contact Angie Lamb at angela-lamb@uiowa.edu or (319) 335-2062.

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Become a 1stGen@Iowa Mentor

Find a 1stGen@Iowa Mentor

Mentoring Resources

How Do Students Use The 1stGen@Iowa Mentor Network?

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Making Connections

Looking for some tips on what to say when you contact a 1stGen@Iowa Mentor?

  • Introduce yourself! Start with your name and include any relevant information like your major and year in school.
  • Tell them how you found them. Let the mentor know that you found their name on the 1stGen@Iowa Mentor Network website, and that you are reaching out to them with a question or looking for advice.
  • Explain what you're looking for. Do you have a specific question you need help with? Are you wondering if they can tell you more about a topic you're interested in? Are you looking for more information about their department or how to navigate research opportunities within their field? Are you looking for a longer-term mentoring commitment? Try to be as detailed as possible. Please keep in mind that not all mentors are available to serve in a long-term and/or formal mentoring role. In addition, some questions can be answered with a few quick emails or a single meeting.
  • Leave plenty of time for them to respond. Try not to email one of the mentors with a time-sensitive question that must be addressed immediately or within less than a few business days. For this type of assistance, you might want to check out our campus resources page.

Important Note...

Mentoring relationships may be short-term, lasting through only a few email exchanges, or longer term, depending on the student's needs and desired outcomes, as well as the mentor's availability.

Not all mentors are available for long-term mentoring commitments as this expectation is not a requirement for serving as a 1stGen@Iowa Mentor. 

Not sure what to ask?

A lot of random questions come up from time to time, and this network might be an excellent place to find someone who can answer something like:

  • I would like to shadow someone in your field, can you or someone you know help me arrange for this?
  • I'm thinking of changing my major, but want to meet with a faculty advisor in my new potential major first, is this possible? 
  • I signed up to attend a meet and greet event in your department, but have never attended something like this before, what should I expect? What should I wear?
  • I'm considering applying for grad school, but I have no idea what it's like to be a grad student in your discipline, can I talk to someone about this?

Learn More About Being a 1stGen@Iowa Mentor

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More information about joining the 1stGen@Iowa Mentor Network

Thank you for your interest in becoming a 1stGen@Iowa Mentor!

New mentors may request to be added to the 1stGen@Iowa Mentor Network at the start of each fall and spring semester. This is also when current mentors are given an opportunity to revise their mentor listing information or request to be removed from the network. Keep on eye on this website each September and January for new enrollment information.

When you become a 1stGen@Iowa Mentor, you're letting students know you are dedicated to celebrating first-generation students, disseminating important information and special announcements via your communication channels, and being part of our campus-wide network of support. 

Mentors are also encouraged to visit the Ways To Make a Difference page where you can download first-gen emblems and handouts. 

Are you a current UI student, alum, or other member of the Hawkeye family who would like to be part of this network of support?

Thank you for your support of first-gen students at the University of Iowa! We appreciate your dedication to our students however, at this time, we are only accepting current UI staff or faculty members for the 1stGen@Iowa Mentor Network. As the network grows, we hope to add additional groups of mentors so please check back here in future semesters.

Student Care and Assistance

The 1stGen@Iowa Mentor Network should not be utilized for emergencies or other highly sensitive needs. If you are a student experiencing an emergency or need immediate assistance, contact the Office of the Dean of Students.