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Mentorship Program

SummerWorks Mentorship Curriculum

​The SummerWorks Mentorship Curriculum is designed to help guide mentorship relationships and meetings. This resource includes weekly discussion prompts, best practices, and icebreakers.


Click on the quick links below to see different sections of the mentorship curriculum guide: 

Overview of SummerWorks


The SummerWorks team would like to extend our deepest gratitude and appreciation for your support of our mentorship matching program. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have developed safe, alternative methods for our employers to be involved in virtual programming. It is part of our mission to create opportunities for young adults to explore career opportunities, build their professional networks, and develop essential skills. We are excited to announce that due to the overwhelming interest and support from our community, we plan to continue offering the mentorship component of SummerWorks moving forward.

In order to set you up for success, this document outlines suggestions for structuring your interactions with mentees in the form of activities, discussion questions, and talking points. Throughout this curriculum you will find a recap of topics covered in Mentor Orientation, such as the program structure, mentorship goals, staff support available to you, and more. In addition, we’ve outlined weekly suggested discussion prompts to help guide your mentorship meetings. Please note that this curriculum is meant to be a resource for you to consult as you wish; implementing these recommendations is up to your discretion, as you are experts!

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to email syesupport@umich.edu. We greatly appreciate your generosity and participation; this program would not be possible without you!

Program Structure

SummerWorks launched in 2016 as a partnership between MichiganWorks! Southeast and the Washtenaw County Office of Community and Economic Development. In 2017, the University of Michigan joined the partnership to  provide  employment  opportunities across campus. Our community-focused, public-private-university partnership continues to expand to include Michigan Rehabilitation Services (MRS), the Washtenaw Intermediate School District (WISD), the A2Y Regional Chamber of Commerce, and more.

Formerly known as Summer16, Summer17, Summer18, and Summer19, SummerWorks is the Washtenaw County Summer Youth Employment Program, a 10-week summer employment and mentorship program that pairs local employers with young adults. It connects youth to resources for building professional networks, exploring career opportunities, and developing essential job and leadership skills.

SummerWorks provides Washtenaw County youth aged 16-24 with paid, professional summer internship experiences. In addition, program participants attend weekly Professional Development workshops from May - August. Each workshop covers a different topic ranging from financial planning to social identities in the workplace. The curriculum for Professional Development is available in this document for your reference. Program participants are also given access to a Career Advisor or Success Coach, who acts as a near-peer mentor and provides one-on-one support throughout the summer.

Mentorship Goals

SummerWorks provides a formal, one-on-one mentoring structure to foster a culture of development, exploration, and learning for young professionals in our community.

Through mentorship, our mission is to:

  • Promote opportunities for young professionals to expand their networks, explore career opportunities, and develop their leadership skills.

  • Connect young professionals with a trusted confidant who can help them think through opportunities in the context of their career path and long-term goals.

  • Emphasize a strengths-based approach to mentorship and building supportive, inclusive relationships between youth and adults.

  • Enhance mentor growth through connection and sharing knowledge with young adults.

Staff Support

The SummerWorks team is committed to facilitating positive mentoring relationships between mentors and mentees. We encourage you to reach out to your mentee’s Career Advisor or Success Coach if you have any questions and/or need assistance. We are here to support you as well! The names of our team members are listed below. For general inquiries, please contact our programmatic email address at syesupport@umich.edu.


Dallas Solomon, Michigan Works! Career Advisor Email: dsolomon@mwse.org

Jordan Fisher, Success Coach Email: joleighp@umich.edu

Olivia Ordonez, Success Coach Email: syesupport@umich.edu

Sade Archie, Success Coach Email: syesupport@umich.edu

Zoë Erb, SummerWorks Program Coordinator Email: zoeerb@umich.edu

Benefits of Mentorship

Benefits for Mentors

Develop Leadership, Communication Skills, and More: Becoming a mentor demonstrates your commitment to both professional and personal development. Interacting with a young adult provides you with the chance to utilize a different skill set when it comes to communication. Additionally, your mentee is in a different age group and has had different experiences from you; this can challenge your perspectives and give you the opportunity to grow.

Engage in Volunteering and Contribute to Your Community: Mentoring gives back on a number of levels, as it not only helps a young adult on the personal level, but also helps the entire community. When your mentee moves through the world with additional resources and guidance, the Ripple Effect occurs as they positively impact their own relationships and social circles, and by extension, society.

Reinforce Your Own Knowledge and Confidence: Teaching a young person is a wonderful way to remind yourself of your own expertise and experiences. You may experience the Protégé Effect, increasing your own self-efficacy through teaching your mentee. Read more about the Protégé Effect.

Benefits for Mentees

Gaining Knowledge, Information, and Connections: Getting a mentor is one of the most valuable actions a young person can take to increase their potential of future success. Through increasing their own awareness of potential career paths, networking opportunities, and professional behaviors, mentees benefit greatly from learning about the experiences of an accomplished individual such as yourself. They may also be more likely to explore their personal interests and passions, following their mentor’s example.


Develop Skills and Strategies for Solving Problems: Not only is your mentee learning valuable skills, but they are getting the chance to practice them in a safe space with someone who wants to help them succeed. Just as mentors use different types of communication, mentees will learn the values of being able to use a wide variety of skills in different settings. Another effect of this practice is increased confidence.


Positive Outcomes: Young adults typically receive several tangible and intangible benefits from having a mentor. These include positive outcomes in education, everyday life, and in their future careers. Mentoring helps develop the workforce talent pipeline and is associated with higher enrollment in postsecondary education programs.

Best Practices for Mentorship

Establish a Set Meeting Time & Meeting Agenda

Consistency is key. It is ideal to meet with your mentee at the same time every week via teleconferencing or phone. At a minimum, you should meet for 30 minutes, but you are welcome to meet more than that.

  • Encourage your mentee to create and send calendar invites. If they have questions about this, have them reach out to their Success Coach or Career Advisor.

  • It might be helpful to talk about the process if one of you needs to reschedule. Although it should not be a common occurrence, what is the best way to do that?

  • Have a general idea of what will be discussed in the meeting so both you and your mentee can prepare. With a limited amount of time, the mentor meetings might be more efficient if both parties are coming in with an idea of what will be discussed.

  • You may want to start a shared Google Doc as an informal agenda, so your mentee can add items they want to discuss with you.

  • Having some unstructured time for questions is okay, and in fact, encouraged. That way, your mentee will have the opportunity to drive the conversation themselves.

  • If you or your mentee has a pre-scheduled engagement and must miss a mentorship session, it is up to you (the mentor) to determine if/how you would like to make it up. If you would like to make it up, you are welcome to meet for a longer duration the following week, or schedule multiple meetings another week.

Co-Write Expectations Around Communication

  • To set you and your mentee up for success, you may want to establish what your communication preferences and expectations are. Some suggestions are below:

    • How would you like to communicate? (email, phone, etc.)

    • How frequently would you like to communicate? What hours are you available for questions?

  • The Mentoring Relationship Agreement may be helpful for setting these expectations as well. Please feel free to make a copy of this document and complete it with your mentee, or use something more informal if you’d like.

Set Goals and Revisit Them

Setting goals is an important aspect of mentorship and professional development, as it allows participants to identify, vocalize, and make a concrete plan to achieve their aspirations. We have created a Mentoring Relationship Agreement as an optional resource for you to use in creating a structure around goals.

  • You are important in this process as someone who can hold that participant accountable for completing every step towards their goal(s), and providing support if that participant faces challenges or obstacles.

  • Setting goals for your mentor/mentee relationship is also important in providing structure for your meetings.


Ask Questions

  • Participants might not always be forthcoming with how they want support, but as a mentor, getting curious about them may be a positive way to engage.

  • Establish how each of you best receives support and criticism, and be sure to regularly ask your mentee what support or resources they could use.

  • One way to help participants apply what they have learned in Professional Development is to ask them what they learned that week. We have linked an overview of the Professional Development Curriculum for your use.

Be Open and Practice Vulnerability

Part of establishing an effective mentoring relationship is having a holistic approach, so that means addressing both career goals and life goals.

  • It may be easier to discuss life goals if each party discusses aspects of their personal lives. This is not mandatory, as it can be uncomfortable to discuss our personal lives, but it might make that mentoring relationship more dynamic.

  • Sharing your experiences may help your mentee feel more comfortable sharing their own experiences.

Exercise Patience

  • It might take time to establish a connection with your mentee. This naturally occurs in the process of getting to know someone.

  • Do not be discouraged if your mentoring interactions are not what you thought they would be, and do not be afraid to ask for help. Feel free to reach out to program staff for support.

Principles of Positive Youth Development


Since you will be working with young people, it may be valuable for you to familiarize yourself with Positive Youth Development (PYD) concepts. The Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs defines PYD as “an intentional, prosocial approach that engages youth within their communities, schools, organizations, peer groups, and families in a manner that is productive and constructive; recognizes, utilizes, and enhances young people’s strengths; and promotes positive outcomes for young people by providing opportunities, fostering positive relationships, and furnishing the support needed to build on their leadership strengths.” Components of PYD are outlined below; you can learn more here.

  • Competence: Many young people feel that they are not taken seriously. Demonstrating their competence is one way they can earn the respect of the adults in their lives, and mentors can show them how to do this effectively.

  • Confidence: Having confidence in one’s abilities is integral to realizing one’s potential. You can help your mentee build and maintain that confidence by helping them identify both their strengths and growth areas.

  • Connection: Creating positive bonds with community members, peers, and institutions is important for development. You have the ability to provide your mentee with extremely beneficial resources and information.

  • Character: Having a strong sense of one’s personal values and what integrity means is important in all aspects of life. Mentorship is a great way to help your mentee discover their own values and develop their moral compass.

  • Caring/Compassion: The world can always use more people who are caring, talented, and committed to making it a better place for everyone. Through professional development, our young people are primed to further develop those traits with your help.

  • Contribution: Society cannot exist without individuals and groups who give back. You have made contributions by giving your time and expertise. By becoming a mentor, you have also set an example for our young people, giving them insight on how they might want to give back to the people and communities who have helped them.

Conversation Tips and Tricks


What do I do when the conversation and connections don’t come easy?

When mentoring someone, you may find that conversations and forming connections aren’t coming along effortlessly—that’s okay! Every mentoring relationship cycles through phases. It can often feel difficult to begin the relationship or like things have stalled. Whatever the experience is like for you, don’t sweat it.

Some of the most important things you can provide for a young person are availability, consistency, reliability, and a willingness to listen. Every mentee is at a unique stage of personal and professional growth. For some, certain discussion topics in this curriculum may be too advanced, and that is okay. It can be very difficult for us to identify our career aspirations, educational goals, and professional interests. Please use your best judgment to determine what topics are most appropriate for your mentee. To help ease the pressure, and hopefully your minds, here are some tips and conversation starters to help you build the relationship when it feels difficult.

Tips & Reminders

  • You’re doing your best. Showing up authentically, being consistent, and having a genuine interest in your mentee are more than enough.

  • Don’t feel pressured to force high-level conversations about career goals if your mentee isn’t quite there yet. In addition to someone who provides academic support and opportunities for career exploration, a mentor can be:

    • A trusted listener

    • A role model

    • A resource and resource provider

    • A person who celebrates their mentee’s wins (including the “small” ones)

Easy Icebreakers for Weekly Meetings

You and your mentee’s responses to the suggested prompts below can serve as jumping off points for a larger conversation when things are slow.

  • Rose, Bud, Thorn

    • Reflect on and share each of the following since your last meeting:

      • Rose: A highlight, success, small win, or something positive

      • Bud: Something you’re looking forward or is on the horizon

      • Thorn: A challenge, low, or something you need support with

  • How’s Your Weather?

    • Quickly describe what’s been going on in your lives since your last meeting in terms of weather. Was it stormy? Partly cloudy? Sunny?

  • Three Words

    • Use three words to answer the question: “How are you doing today?”

    • Try to be creative with your answer!

      • A short news headline: Need a nap or Accomplished my goal

      • Three descriptive, separate words: Hopeful, Excited, Stressed

      • A word picture: Calm, smooth sailing or Riding a rollercoaster

  • Lyrical Life

    • What’s one lyric from a song that describes how this week is going?

    • Take turns sharing your lyrics and why you chose them.

  • Top of Mind

    • What are two things that are at the top of your mind today? They can be from any area of your life (as long as you are comfortable sharing).

  • Finish the Sentence

    • Choose a sentence starter that you would like to complete:

  • I’m looking forward to…

  • This morning I…

  • I really need/want to…

  • What if…

  • My day would be going much better if…

  • Someone I’ve really appreciated lately is… because…

  • I can’t stop thinking about…

  • I can’t believe...

Friendly Conversation Prompts

  • If you had one hour today to talk to anyone in the world, who would it be?

  • What do you like to do to disconnect after a long day?

  • What superpower would you like to have?

  • What’s one book every human should read? Why?

  • What’s your favorite quote?

  • What’s the most important quality you look for in other people?

  • If you didn’t have to sleep, how would you spend the extra eight (ish) hours?

  • What is one subject that isn’t taught in school but absolutely should be?

  • If you could choose one new thing or skill to learn, what would it be?

  • If you could have any job in the world regardless of salary, what would it be?

Career Exploration Starter Questions

  • What does success look like to you? What is important to you?

  • Do you know what kind of jobs you might like? Who has influenced your ideas about your career options?

  • What are some of your talents and skills?

  • What topics spark your interest or curiosity?

  • What extracurricular activities do you enjoy? How do you like to spend your time?

  • What makes you feel happy or energized?

  • Who do you look up to? What about them inspires you?

  • What about yourself are you most proud of?

  • Have you ever worked before? What did you like about that job? Not like?

  • What would you like to learn more about? What can I help you with?

  • What are your favorite classes? Why?

  • What do you “geek” over? What could you spend hours talking about?

Virtual Mentorship Timeline & Topics

Week 1 (week of June 14, 2021): Introductions

Professional Development Topic: No Professional Development this week


Icebreaker: What is your favorite thing to do in Michigan?


Potential Discussion Topics

Use this session to make your introductions. This could include talking about your personal interests, as well as your career path and how you got to your current position. It may also be beneficial to talk about what your mentee would like to learn from your relationship.

  • You can start with where you are from and share some anecdotes about extracurriculars you participated in. Hopefully, your mentee will do the same, so you both set a foundation for building your mentorship relationship.

    • Program staff will have provided a quick blurb of why you were matched with your mentee, and this may be a helpful place to start as you explore your shared interests. Reviewing your mentee’s Executive Summary may also be beneficial.

  • This is also a good time to set goals for your mentor/mentee relationship, as well as your individual goals for your participation in the program. Establish what goals you have and what each of you brings to the table. You can draft your plans in this meeting and revisit them in the next meeting if that is agreeable to both you and your mentee.

  • You might ask your mentee about what their goals are for the program this year and what they hope to gain or learn.

    • We will discuss S.M.A.R.T. goals later in the summer, but it would not hurt to mention them here. See general discussion topics below for more information on S.M.A.R.T. goals.


Discussion Prompts

  • My name is____________and I am a/an_________________(title/position at the place you work).

  • I am from________________.

  • I went to (high school) and (college, if applicable) and majored in_____________.                                                                                 

  • I participated in_______________ (sport or other extracurricular you participated in).

  • After college, I started out_____________. 

  • Let’s talk about communication guidelines and expectations. I prefer__________.

Week 2 (week of June 21, 2021): Career Pathways and Being Professional

Professional Development Topic: Financial Planning

Icebreaker: What did you want to be when you were a young child and/or young adult? How did that aspiration play out for you?


Potential Discussion Topics

If applicable, revisit and confirm the goals you and your mentee set for mentorship in your last meeting.

Use this session to delve into the details of your career path.

  • How did you get to where you are? What advice do you have?

  • Encourage your mentee to reflect on where they currently are, as well as where they want to go professionally.

  • This is a great time to share about what you did post-high school.

    • You might share best practices and advice on how to approach postsecondary education, or if you started directly in the workforce, how you managed that.

  • Discover what your mentee is interested in and what their aspirations are as of the current moment.

  • Emphasize that it is okay if plans change and/or they do not know what they want to do. Everyone experiences uncertainty!


Discussion Prompts

  • My first job was…

    • I learned_______from that experience.

  • Something that helped me move up in this field was…

  • I made the best out of this situation by…

  • The best way to approach a job search is to…

  • What do you want to do professionally?

    • If they are unsure: “what are you interested in?”

  • I handled the workload during my postsecondary education program by…

  • I managed my time by…

  • My experience in college taught me…

  • My various career experiences have taught me…

Week 3 (week of June 28, 2021): Health and Wellness

Professional Development Topic: Post-Secondary Education

Icebreaker: When/where are you the most relaxed? If you have trouble coming up with something, what is something you do that makes you happy?


Potential Discussion Topics

Ideally, participants will complete this program with a solid idea of what it means to take care of their physical and mental well-being, not only in the workplace, but also in general.

  • Use this session to discuss the importance of wellness. Overall, conversations about health and wellness have increased. Normalizing that conversation—discussing one’s own wellness and what it means—not only de-stigmatizes struggles but also gives an opportunity to show vulnerability and build trust.

  • It may also be valuable to have a discussion about what the difference is between wellness and health. Specifically, it is possible to be well without being healthy; it is important to have an inclusive definition of wellness that does not exclude individuals with chronic health issues.

    • The World Health Organization (WHO) defines wellness as “an active process of becoming aware of and making choices toward a healthy and fulfilling life. Wellness is more than being free from illness, it is a dynamic process of change and growth.”

  • Managing health and wellness can be personal and vary widely between individuals. If you feel comfortable, share your own experiences and tips/strategies for managing your own health and wellness.

  • How does maintaining your wellness look different in different settings?

    • At school? At work?

    • With peers/friends? With family?

  • The Wellness Wheel from University of Michigan


Discussion Prompts

  • When I think of health and wellness I think about …

  • Health and wellness is important because…

  • I do_______when work/life begins to get overwhelming.

  • If you’re comfortable sharing, how do you typically cope with stress?

  • I make sure to do________in order to maintain wellness.

Week 4 (week of July 5, 2021): Program/Life Check In

Professional Development Topic: Social Identities and the Workplace

Icebreaker: Describe a time when you received praise for your work. What in particular made it stand out from other positive feedback?


Potential Discussion Topics

Note for Mentors: All SummerWorks youth participants are required to create and edit a LinkedIn profile for themselves. You may want to ask your mentee how that is going and whether they need any guidance. The theme for next week’s mentorship meetings is “Building a Professional Online Presence,” and you can dig deeper then as well.

LinkedIn profiles are due on 7/28 or 7/30 (whichever day your mentee attends PD).

Now that we are at the halfway point, you may want to check in with your mentee on:

  • How is your mentee doing with the program? How is life in general?

    • It is a difficult time for everyone due to COVID-19, civil unrest, etc. If you feel comfortable, offering space to talk about those issues may be appreciated. You may also choose to share how you manage your well-being and stress.

    • Many of the young adults in SummerWorks care deeply about being involved in their community and engaging in advocacy efforts. It may be helpful to talk about the role of civic engagement (in all its forms) in creating social change. If mentors would like to discuss civic engagement, they can:

      • Talk about what civic engagement means to you. Ask your mentee how they engage with their community.

      • (If your mentee is eligible to vote) provide information on how to register. The Ginsberg Center at the University of Michigan has great resources about how to register to vote. Note that Michigan now has permanent absentee voting.

  • Discuss any concerns or other situations that may have come up in the midst of the program, and answer any questions that the participants have regarding professional development material. If your mentee has a summer internship, how has that been going?

  • Revisit the mentorship goals you set in your initial meeting together. Are you on track to meet your goals? If not, how can you redirect so you can meet them?

  • If your mentee is quiet, you can ask them questions about the material they have covered in Professional Development and other aspects of the program. You may also ask them what questions they have and what they want to learn more about.


Discussion Prompts

  • How are you doing?

  • How are you taking care of your mental health?

  • What is the most interesting thing you have learned so far in the program?

  • Which Professional Development session have you enjoyed the most? What did you enjoy about it?

  • What topic(s) from Professional Development do you still want to learn more about?

  • How do you feel about doing a job shadow / informational interview?

  • What questions or concerns do you have?

  • Is there anything that you learned about in Professional Development that you would like to discuss further?

Week 5 (week of July 12, 2021): Building a Professional Online Presence

Professional Development Topic: Career Preparation

Icebreaker: What are the worst things to include on a professional profile? What are some things you’ve seen other people do that did not look professional?


Potential Discussion Topics

Use this session to provide some insight into how to build a professional online presence and why it is important.

  • Talk about what social media you use and ask your mentee which mediums they prefer. What are the differences between a “professional” profile and a “personal” one? What are the benefits of having a presence on LinkedIn versus other social media sites?

  • What do employers look for from someone’s online presence? This is a great opportunity to talk about how some potential employers look at candidates’ social media profiles to determine if they are a good fit for the job.

  • Discuss ways to maintain professionalism online. You may want to talk about the fact that nothing is ever truly deleted from the internet.

  • Provide the best practice of Googling yourself in incognito mode every few months to see what results come up. Making sure your name is not connected to anything unsavory is key in keeping your online persona professional.


Discussion Prompts

  • I look for___________when viewing someone’s professional profile.

  • This is how you get on LinkedIn. I include            on my LinkedIn profile.

  • I would expect to find___________in a personal profile.

  • I would expect to find___________in a professional profile.

  • I use my online presence to…

Week 6 (week of July 19, 2021): After High School and Beyond

Professional Development Topic: Civic Engagement

Icebreaker: (tailor based on the age of mentee) What was your favorite song the year you graduated from high school and/or college? What is your mentee’s favorite song right now?


Potential Discussion Topics

Post-high school plans look different for everyone. This session is the time to talk about different options for youth after they graduate, or, for those who have graduated already, a time to reflect on their professional path thus far.

  • If you feel comfortable, share what it was like for you while you were trying to determine what to do after high school and/or college.

    • What decisions did you make?

    • How did your actions get you to where you are now?

  • Discuss the various factors that are important to consider when deciding on a postsecondary education program or plan.

    • You might discuss the college choice process or what engaging the workforce after high school is like. What factors did you consider when deciding what to do or where to go after high school (cost, degrees, campus diversity, etc.)?

  • Ask your mentee what their plans are once they graduate, if they are comfortable sharing. If your mentee has already graduated from high school, have a reflective conversation with them about the path they’ve taken and where they want to go.

  • For older youth, talk about how to conduct market research and why it is important to track industry trends and changes in job stability. The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides these data.

  • Discuss the process of finding jobs based on your education. Help them identify job titles and tasks that may appeal to them.

    • What resources are available to your mentee to help them find a job?

    • Which transferable skills can they use across an array of industries?

    • How does one identify the professional growth opportunities they want to pursue, and how do they make sure that is part of the job they take?

    • Also, share that while it is ideal to go to school for the field you want to be in, it is always possible to change your career.

Tip: if your mentee is very unsure about what direction they want to go in, discuss their possibilities in terms of parallel plans. This will help them consider all possibilities and determine what path is really the best fit for them.


Discussion Prompts (tailor based on the age of your mentee)

  • After I graduated high school, I…

  • What do you know about college?

  • Have you received any help or resources regarding making a college choice?

  • What questions do you have about the college choice process?

  • I went about finding a job after high school by…

  • These are some things to keep in mind if you are looking for a job out of high school and/or college: .

  • Have you thought about plans after high school? If so, can you say more? If not, what do you already know?

  • I wish I knew_______after I graduated from high school.

  • My post-high school decisions did_________for me.

Week 7 (week of July 26, 2021): Workforce Advice

Professional Development Topic: Job Shadow Day

Icebreaker: What is your dream job and why?


Potential Discussion Topics

  • Use this session to provide your expertise on how to thrive in the workplace and explore workplace values.

  • Remind your mentee that they now have a lot of knowledge about how to obtain a job. Now is the time to provide them with information about how to keep a job and succeed at it. Everyone is always learning!

    • You could discuss topics such as: networking, managing your manager, receiving and providing criticism/feedback, and more.

      • More advanced topics might include salary negotiation, asking for a promotion, etc.

    • One skill you may want to highlight is transferable skills. Many youth (and adults) struggle with this. Practice translating the tasks your mentee is doing (or has done) at work or school into skills to highlight on their resume.

  • You may want to discuss different workplace values and how they may change over time. What may be important to someone in their 20’s is likely going to be different from someone in their 30’s, 40’s, or 50’s.

    • The Work Values Inventory can be valuable for anyone to reflect on. Participants will have completed a similar assessment, and it may be a useful tool in guiding your conversation.

  • Provide career development resources:


Discussion Prompts

  • I maintain my network by…

  • The best way to manage your manager is to…

  • I look for________in my employees.

  • I provide feedback by….

  • I provide criticism by…

  • Have you thought about how you best receive criticism/feedback? How has it changed over time?

  • Have you thought about how you best communicate in general? What are your strengths and growth areas?

  • I prefer for my employees to do_________when communicating with me.

Week 8 (week of August 2, 2021): Program Reflection

Professional Development Topic: Celebration

Icebreaker: What has been your favorite part of the program?


Potential Discussion Topics

This is the end! It is an opportunity to celebrate your accomplishments and debrief/reflect on the program.

  • Provide an opportunity to reflect on the summer and revisit your original goals for the mentor/mentee relationships.

    • Did you achieve your goals?

    • What have you gotten from meeting with one another?

    • In hindsight, is there anything you would have done differently?

  • Tie up any loose ends and make sure your mentee has their current questions answered.

  • Discuss next steps. It is up to your and your mentee’s discretion, but this is a good session to make plans on if/how to keep in touch after the program ends.


Discussion Prompts

  • What has been your favorite part of the program?

  • What have you learned that has stuck with you the most?

  • How can you implement that into your future plans?

  • What do you wish you could have done while in the program?

  • Are there any other resources I can provide you with?

  • What are your plans for the next year?

General Discussion Topics


Below is an additional list of general topics you may want to cover with your mentee throughout the course of the summer. None of these topics are required, but may be helpful in guiding your mentorship meetings and brainstorming ideas to discuss.

Personality Assessments

  • All program participants are required to take the Kuder Assessment, which includes: the Kuder Career Interests Assessment, Kuder Skills Confidence Assessment, and Super's Work Values Inventory. Feel free to ask them about what they learned after July 17th!

  • You are welcome to encourage your mentee to take an additional personality assessment, or take it together and compare your results!
    - We recommend using 16 Personalities, a free assessment modeled after Myers-Briggs that includes five personality type scales.
    - If you have access to other personality assessments that you believe may be helpful (such as Clifton Strengths), feel free to share them with your mentee. You can also share your own results and how they have influenced you.

  • Reflecting on ourselves, our strengths, our areas for growth, and what makes us tick can help us identify potential career and educational paths.

  • While these tests come with some limitations, they can be a great way for us to get to know ourselves and move forward in the world with the knowledge of what we want and need personally and professionally.

  • If you incorporate a personality assessment, be sure to debrief results. It’s important to mention that these assessments are not the end-all and be-all to who we are; they are meant to serve as a starting point for exploring ourselves. Sample debrief questions include:

    • How do you feel about your results? Do they resonate with you? Why or why not?

    • How do you think your results might relate to some of your personal or professional interests?

    • What do you think your ideal work environment is like? How do your results relate to this?

    • Encourage your mentee to explore potential careers and/or educational programs related to their results. 16 Personalities provides a starting point; here is an additional resource. Which career fields might they be interested or excel in?

Goal Setting

  • Talk about best practices for goal setting as well as why setting goals is important. Although we will review S.M.A.R.T. Goals in Professional Development, it is never too early to review the acronym with your mentee.

    • Specific (simple, sensible, significant)

    • Measurable (meaningful, motivating)

    • Achievable (agreed, attainable)

    • Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based)

    • Time bound (time-based, time limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive)

  • A key part of reaching goals is assessing progress. Discuss best practices and methods you use for determining whether you are on track to meet your goals.

  • Emphasize that goals can also change as we grow. It is okay to let go of a goal if you decide it is no longer relevant for you or something you wish to accomplish.


  • Check in about how the program is going for your mentee. Inquire about what they are learning in Professional Development and encourage them to think about how they can apply what they have learned to their professional or personal endeavors.

  • You can also check in on how your mentee is feeling on a personal level. This will show them that you are invested in both their professional and personal lives.

Career Pathways

  • Share an overview of how you got to where you are with your mentee. This could provide them with more tangible steps that they could take in order to realize their own professional aspirations.

  • Get into detail on those steps. If you attended college, provide best practices for thriving in the higher education landscape. If you did not, provide some advice on how to get your foot in the door somewhere and create meaningful connections that could be utilized to establish a network.

    • Who are the people who helped you?

    • What did you have to do in order to get to where you are?

  • You might share: is there anything you wish you had known about being a professional when you were their age?


Help Your Mentee Set Up an Informational Interview

  • One of the program deliverables is completing an informational interview. We have many professionals from the community who have volunteered, but practice makes perfect. The ability to lead an informational interview is an invaluable skill.

  • Do you have someone in your network who would be willing to do an informational interview with your mentee? Please feel free to connect them via email.

  • We will discuss informational interviewing strategies in late July (week of 7/27). Repetition is good with this skill as it may be new to your mentee—reiterating and reinforcing the components of an informational interview can only help.


Interview Strategies

  • Interviewing can be intimidating, so provide your mentee with some strategies that they could utilize in order to make the best impression that they can on a potential employer.

  • You may want to offer interview practice as well. Practice makes perfect!

Teleconferencing Etiquette

  • It is important to address our current virtual circumstances. Your mentee may have questions about the best way to handle certain online situations that may not arise in a non-virtual setting.

  • Ask your mentee if it would be helpful to review basic etiquette when attending virtual meetings. You may want to provide your mentee with best practices for conducting business remotely.

Resume Review

  • SummerWorks participants will also be required to complete a resume. All youth have completed an executive summary document; program staff will help them use their executive summaries to craft a resume in late July (week of 7/27). It may be beneficial to ask your mentee how their resume looking and offer to help them with it. They will likely appreciate extra support and another set of eyes to review it.

  • The Balance Careers has some great resume resources. Participants will have a chronological or combination resume.

    • For formatting, we recommend a document that looks similar to this from the University of Michigan’s Career Center. The content may look a bit intimidating because it is from a college student, but the resume looks polished, neat, and easy to read.

Explore & Discuss Core Values

  • Having awareness of one’s core values is a necessity in both the professional and personal realms. Identifying our values may help guide future career and life decisions. If you’d like to explore personal values with your mentee, feel free to use the suggested activity outlined below.

  • Personal Values Activity Instructions:

    • You and your mentee should begin this activity by reviewing this list of personal values. Circle or write down any values that resonate with you.

    • After your initial review of the list, go back through and choose the top 10 values that are most important to you.

    • Once you have identified your top 10, narrow that list to your top 3 values.

    • Debrief Questions:

      • What was it like to identify your top values? Was it easy or difficult? Why?

      • How did you go about narrowing your list to 10, and then 3?

      • Why are these values important to you? How do they fit into or relate to your career interests and aspirations?

      • Do you think your values have always been the same or do you think they have changed over time?

      • How do you currently live by your values? How are you going to make sure you implement your values moving forward?

Crafting a Vision Statement

  • Show your mentee how to turn their personal values into a vision statement.

  • Have them think about where they want to be five to ten years from now. What do they envision themselves doing? What is their purpose? Who do they see themselves as?

  • Explain how to use a vision statement on a consistent basis to guide professional and personal development.

  • Here are two resources that may be helpful:

Writing a Personal Statement

  • Writing a personal statement for a job or school application can be daunting. Share tips and tricks with your mentee about how to start.

    • Recommend they do the following:

      • Highlight relevant skills.

      • Demonstrate their values.

      • Describe their current goals and ideally include a plan to achieve them.

    • If they have ever written a cover letter, they can borrow material from that.

    • Purdue Online Writing Lab (Owl) has helpful pointers.

  • Emphasize that a personal statement is, in fact, a very personal document. No one can write it for them, but they are very capable of telling their own story.

Asking for References and/or Letters of Recommendation

  • Everyone has a list of people who are willing to vouch for them in a professional setting. We will talk about this in Professional Development, but this is a particularly important topic worth repeating.

  • Review Best Practices (feel free to add any of your own):

    • If possible, ask in person. If that is not possible, write a professional, courteous email asking.

    • Make sure the reference feels comfortable writing and/or speaking on your behalf. Note that sometimes it is nothing personal, but people may refuse to write a reference if they are busy.

    • Give references plenty of time to provide a letter of recommendation.

    • Provide information that will help your reference such as your resume, cover letter, job description, program summary, etc. This will help your recommender tailor their responses to highlight relevant skills.

    • Write a thank-you note. Handwritten is best, but digital is acceptable.

    • Keep a list of your references with all of their contact information in your records. Reach out to them occasionally to check in, not just when you need something from them.


Additional Resources and Helpful Links


Once again, thank you for becoming a SummerWorks mentor. Below is a list of helpful program documents and mentoring resources that you may want to reference throughout your time as a mentor. If you have any useful mentoring resources you’d like to see added to this section, please email us at syesupport@umich.edu.


SummerWorks Documents