Meadows Mentor Program Provides Students with Professional Advice and Guidance

The new mentorship program created by the Office of Alumni and Career Success pairs current students with alumni and other volunteers who are willing to share career advice.

A Meadows alum helps mentor a current student.
Mentorship activities include offering a thirty-minute virtual coffee session to a student, reviewing a resume, or speaking to a Meadows class as a guest lecturer.

In 2022, Meadows established the Office of Alumni and Career Success (ACS) in partnership with SMU’s Hegi Family Career Development Center. This department, the first and only of its kind on campus, offers resources, events and programs to assist students in building self-sustaining careers in the arts, media, design and communications. The Meadows Mentor program is one of these initiatives.


The program creates more meaningful engagement between students and graduates, including mentorship and leadership, and allows alumni to be the mentor they wish they had during their own experience at Meadows. The mentorship opportunity provides our students with a resource who has been in their shoes and can give industry-specific career insights that they need to be successful in their field.

“We are building a program that helps us graduate alumni who are more confident and prepared in pursuit of their career goals,” explains Timmie Hathorn, Assistant Dean of Alumni and Career Success. “With the success of these new initiatives, the school will be in a better position to deliver on its promise to its students – that along with a Meadows diploma comes job opportunities within your chosen area of study and lifelong access to a robust and active alumni network.”


Student Nastya Shyvilka poses with her alumni mentor Susan Barnett

Art alum Susan Barnett and her mentee Nastya Shyvilka ’26 recently met up on campus for coffee and a tour of Meadows newly-renovated building.


To date, 475 alumni – representing each of Meadows’ academic areas of study – have committed to sharing career advice with students through the Meadows Mentor program and it is a great way for alumni to give back to their alma mater. While the time commitment is low, their involvement can still significantly impact a student’s career journey, and often end up impacting their own lives as well.


"Being with [my mentee] Nastya brings back all those wonderful memories of freedom and exploration as I developed my vision and practice at Meadows," says art alum Susan Barnett (M.F.A. '08), who has visited several art galleries and the Dallas Art Fair with her mentee. "We have fun and I think learn from each other."


As demonstrated by Barnett and her mentee, ACS is finding that longer-term mentorship relationships are developing organically from the initial networking connections made through this program. From providing tours of facilities like the Dallas Federal Reserve and New York City’s Lincoln Center Theater to advising on internship and graduate school applications, our alumni are proving to be excellent resources for Meadows students.

To learn more about the program or how you can volunteer, click here.