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Fellows Mentoring and Support Initiative

Program and Goal

The purpose of the Graduate College’s (GC) Fellows Mentoring and Support Initiative is to expand outreach efforts to Diversifying Faculty in Higher Education in Illinois (DFI) and Abraham Lincoln (Lincoln) Fellowship recipients at UIC. The goal of this initiative is to provide DFI and Lincoln Fellows with career and personal mentoring, advice, and referral support from GC faculty and staff. Our aim is to decrease early departure from Ph.D. programs. The GC is another “home away from home” where Fellows can meet with trustworthy individuals and access various career development workshops and community building events. Our services and activities are designed to help students to negotiate the rigors and isolation of graduate study. Ms. Demetria Ward-Kato will serve as the contact person for both Lincoln and DFI fellows. Dr. Ford and other staff and faculty will serve as mentors in the GC.

Activities and Services

The Fellows Mentoring Initiative has six key components.

  • One-on-one meetings -Fellows can discuss matters pertinent to any academic and social issues related to success in their graduate programs with GC Faculty and staff mentors.
  • Peer Mentoring - Based on a matched-pairs design whereby junior graduate students are assigned to advanced graduate mentors. In addition, alumni of DFI and UIC Lincoln fellowships with and without PhD’s will serve as mentors to expand the mentoring network.
  • Career Development Events - GC staff members will coordinate workshops on topics like: choosing an advisor, working with your dissertation committee, dealing with procrastination, and preparing for the job market. Other topics will include managing stress, anxiety, and depression. 
  • Brown Bags -Doctoral students and candidates, alumni and faculty and staff can present their research. We propose two to four brown bag sessions each year. Fellows are also encouraged to participate in the DFI/IALHEA Conference Research Forum. 
  • Open Dialogue - These sessions between DFI and Lincoln Fellows, Directors of Graduate Studies, support staff, and UIC/GC administrators will discuss issues and graduate student concerns. The Graduate College dialogue sessions will take place twice each academic year.
  • Graduation and Recognition Ceremony -This formal event honors Fellows who are graduating with a master's degree, doctoral degree as well as other significant academic and professional achievements.  

For more information contact: Lunaire D. Ford, Ph.D., Assistant Dean, UIC Graduate College, - (312) 413-2556,