Career Mentoring Program

The Career Mentoring Program brings mentors, mentees, and the Career Centre together to develop the skills, knowledge, attitudes, and connections mentees need as they transition into the world of work. 

The program allows undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows to:

  • get experience that compliments and gives context to academic pursuits,
  • practice industry-specific, transferable, and self-management skills to improve chances of landing a job,
  • increase self-awareness and understanding of how to contribute to the work world,
  • expand career options by learning job search strategies, and
  • exchange knowledge, insights, and experience with a mentor.

Distance Mentoring Program

The Distance Mentoring Program provides undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and alumni the opportunity to connect with professionals in their fields of study. The mentors who participate in this program typically reside outside of the Edmonton-area and are alumni of the University of Alberta. As a participant, you will connect with mentors via video conferencing, either one-on-one or with a group of participants.

The program allows you to:

  • Exchange knowledge, insights, and experience with a mentor,

  • Increase self-awareness and understanding of how to contribute to the work world, 

  • Expand career options by learning job search strategies, and

  • Connect with a broad, and diverse range of mentors.


If you are a professional and would like to become a mentor, please reach out to us at to discuss the options available.

  • Oleg Veryovka, Augmented Reality Technical Lead, Google
    Oleg Veryovka is a technical leader and software architect specializing in development of visually rich user facing applications based on the latest in computer graphics and vision, machine learning, natural language processing, and distributed systems. Oleg is currently at Google working on Augmented Reality platform and AR applications. Prior to Google, he led multiple teams at Amazon, improved customer reviews star ratings and sorting, developed size recommendations for fashion shoppers, Oleg has deep rooted connections to technical community in Canada. He founded a consultancy focused on data analytics solutions, worked as a Technical Director on AAA Need For Speed franchise at Electronic Arts, developed rendering algorithms for film and TV productions at Mainframe Entertainment. Oleg received PhD in Computer Science and MSc in Mathematics from University of Alberta, authored multiple research publications in Computer Graphics, co-supervised MSc and PhD students.
  • Andrea Schiel, Principal Software Developer, Microsoft
    Andrea Schiel is a principal software developer at Microsoft working for the Age of Empires franchise as the AI architect. She specializes in AI and gameplay for video games. She has her bachelors in Genetics from the University of Alberta but also holds various certifications in archaeology and computer science. Andrea is what the industry calls a "self-taught programmer", but has done both research work in computer science (Simon Fraser University) and in genetics (University of Alberta), and has roughly 25 years of applied programming experience. Andrea's approach is to act as a bridge between academia and industrial programming, which is why she liaises between Microsoft’s Research departments and Xbox department. There are a lot of unique problems presented in games that make it a really exciting field for an AI programmer that are hard to find elsewhere. Andrea has given talks at GDC (Game Developers Conference) and you can check out which games she's worked on here:

Program Length: Flexible based on your needs. You can meet with a mentor regularly over the course of a semester, or have a one-time career information interview to answer your initial questions.

Time Commitment: All first-time participants must attend a 1-hour orientation session to prepare and learn strategies for success in the program. Each meeting with the mentor may last up to 1 hour.

Applications: Apply here.



Undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral fellows from all faculties and programs are eligible to apply for mentorship. 

  • Attributes of good mentees

    A good mentee:

    Has reached a point in their career exploration, through activities such as career advising and job shadowing, that has set them up to explore deeper career questions.

    Knows the skills, knowledge, attitudes, and connections they want to learn or develop.

    Is a self-directed learner and takes initiative.

    Solicits and accepts constructive feedback.

    Wants to explore their interests, values, strengths, and career desires.

    Can describe their ideal mentor with specific parameters.

  • Benefits of being a mentee

    At the end of the program, mentees will have:

    Gained information, advice, and guidance from someone with professional experience.

    Received nonjudgmental feedback on and practice in developing workplace skills.

    Discovered new contacts and community connections.

    Realistic, first-hand information about career paths, jobs, industries, and work settings.

    Insight and clarity about academic goals and future plans.

    Self-confidence and experience in professional settings.

    The ability to recognize unexpected opportunities. 

  • Expectations of mentees

    After being matched with a mentor, mentees are expected to:

    Own the learning process; practice self-awareness through reflection to understand personal vision (i.e. interests, values, strengths, career desires, etc.).

    Admit errors and mistakes, recognize procrastination, and take responsibility for actions.

    Initiate consistent and timely communication with the mentor.

    Solicit feedback from the mentor regularly.

    Give feedback to the mentor and demonstrate appreciation for their suggestion.

    Set SMART goals and have the mentor evaluate them.

    Evaluate progress by setting performance criteria and tracking achievements.

    Be open-minded and show interest in new perspectives.

    Be an active listener (i.e. in meetings, on the phone, in email responses).

    Use tact in communicating difference of opinion.


Career mentors are trusted guides that act as an informal coach, role model, and connector, offering encouragement and advice.

  • Attributes of good mentors

    A good mentor:

    Is recognized as a mentor by their peers.

    Has the desire to help less experienced people.

    Sees solutions and opportunities that help mentees make sense of their goals and challenges.

    Can stimulate a mentee's thinking and reflection.

    Actively listens with an open-mind and without judgement.

    Is empathetic to the experiences of a mentee.

    Sees being a mentor as a way to personally grow and learn.

  • Benefits of being a mentor

    At the end of the program, mentors will have:

    Gained satisfaction in building up the self-worth of a new professional.

    Diversified professional networks by exploring new connections on behalf of their mentee.

    Practiced leadership and interpersonal skills through coaching, communication, and active listening.

    Helped a new professional leverage unplanned events in their life and career.

    Contributed to the long-term growth of their industry.

    Gained fresh perspective on work-related practices.

    Experienced career rejuvenation.

  • Expectations of mentors

    Mentors are expected to:

    Work in the Edmonton area.

    Draw on personal experience, successes, failures, and insights to assist their mentee.

    Want to improve their skills as a mentor.

    Be available for the time and frequency agreed upon in the Mentoring Agreement.

    Be open to giving and receiving feedback with their mentee.

    Be interested in learning from someone with a different background and experiences.

Undergraduate students and postdoctoral fellows

Current U of A undergraduate students and postdoctoral fellows are eligible to apply.

Program length: 8 months (January - September)

Commitment fee: $75 

The fee is paid after you are accepted into the program. You are expected to pay incidental expenses that may be incurred during your mentoring relationship (e.g. coffee, meals, parking, bus tickets).

Time commitment: minimum 33 hours over 8 months

Applications: Please note that applications will re-open in September 2020.

Graduate students

Current U of A Masters and PhD students, who have at least eight months before they graduate, are eligible to apply.

Program length: 6 months

Commitment fee: $75

The fee is paid after you are accepted into the program. You are expected to pay incidental expenses that may be incurred during your mentoring relationship (e.g. coffee, meals, parking, bus tickets).

Time commitment: minimum of 13 hours over 6 months

Applications: Please note that applications will re-open in 2020, depending on available funding.