UK Social Work Alumni-Student Mentor Program Makes Lasting Impact, Builds Bridges 

Following the success of the College of Social Work Alumni Association (SWAA) inaugural Alumni-Student Mentoring Program, the SWAA expands the initiative to foster deeper connections and further professional development opportunities in the field of social work for the Spring 2024 session. 

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Lexington, KY – The College of Social Work Alumni Association (SWAA) at the University of Kentucky has taken a significant step to strengthen the bond between its current students and alumni. Following the success of its inaugural SWAA Alumni-Student Mentoring Program in Spring 2023, the association is thrilled to continue and expand this initiative into Spring 2024. 

The SWAA Alumni-Student Mentoring Program, active from January to May 2024, is part of the college’s commitment to nurturing the next generation of social workers. By matching current students with accomplished alumni, the program fosters purposeful one-on-one relationships that are pivotal in shaping the students’ academic and professional trajectories in social work.  

In 2024, the program features active participation from 52 pairs, with nearly one-third of the alumni mentors having also participated in Spring 2024.  This broad scope of mentorship spans 29 states and two countries. 

One of the most notable aspects of the program is its accessibility and inclusivity. Participation is entirely free and can occur in a fully virtual format, ensuring that no student misses out on this valuable opportunity. This program is not just a platform for networking; it’s a nurturing ground for mentorship, guidance, and the sharing of invaluable experiences and insights. 

The feedback from the program’s participants speaks volumes about its impact. Jasmine Cohen-Young, a mentee from the Spring 2023 cohort, shared, “Engaging in the Wildcat Network not only allowed me to gain a lifetime mentor, but has helped me in my academic endeavors too! The process was seamless and allowed for a professional relationship to develop.” Another mentee shared, “Without my mentor’s guidance and UK’s support, I don’t think I would have made it this far in the MSW program, especially as a first-generation college student.” 

On the flip side, mentors are having equally rewarding experiences. Gerald “Jerry” Carter, an alumni mentor from Spring 2023, remarked, “My student mentee is an amazing person and an even better social worker. I can’t wait to see what she will accomplish as her career unfolds.” This highlights the mutual benefit and the sense of pride and accomplishment experienced by the mentors. 

As the SWAA Alumni-Student Mentoring Program continues into its second year, it holds the promise of not only continuing the legacy of the previous year but also of expanding its reach and impact. It stands as a beacon of support, guidance, and inspiration for both aspiring and established social workers, embodying the spirit of collaboration and continuous learning that is at the heart of the social work profession.

For 85 years, the University of Kentucky College of Social Work (CoSW) has been a leader in social work education. As a college, we promote community and individual well-being through translational research and scholarship, exemplary teaching, and vital community engagement. We are committed to the people and social institutions throughout Kentucky, the nation, and the world. Like the University, CoSW is an organization that cultivates a diverse academic community characterized by interpersonal fairness and social justice. We are fiercely committed to developing outstanding social work professionals — leaders who will serve individuals, families, and communities through innovative and effective practices that are guided by cultural competency, systematic ethical analysis, and a keen and pragmatic understanding of the human condition.  

UK Social Work Alumni-Student Mentor Program Makes Lasting Impact, Builds Bridges