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MCB Pre-Health and Professional Mentorship Program

Our award-winning alumni mentorship program connects motivated MCB students with accomplished alumni across the country. Alumni clinicians, researchers, educators, and more provide valuable insight to students through our formal mentoring program and multiple online or in-person events held during the year. Information about the MCB alumni mentorship program and related activities, such as the Alumni Career Symposium and Alumni Connections, the series of virtual talks, will be shared with students in the weekly MCB e-newsletter, Road MAP, and our social media. If you have any questions or would like additional information, please contact Tina Knox at tmknox@illinois.edu.

Becoming a Mentee

At this time, the MCB alumni mentorship program is only available to declared biology, MCB and biochemistry majors. Students must apply to the program every year, typically in the fall. Students wishing to be matched with an alumnus for fall 2021 - fall 2022 should apply here no later than 5pm on Wednesday, November 3, 2021. Participants will be requied to attend and online information session before being matched with an alumnus. We anticipate being able to make matches via email introduction during the week of November 15. We try to match as many students as possible to our alumni mentors, based on availability. Our goal is to pair students with mentors who are practicing in fields or industries related to their interests. We also consider geographic location and other factors.

Becoming an Alumni Mentor

We have over 100 participating MCB alumni mentors in various professions across the U.S., and the program is always looking to recruit new members. To sign up to become an alumni mentor, please fill out this Online Registration Form. We encourage mentors to provide one or two shadowing opportunities per year (if possible) and to keep in touch with their student(s) via phone, email, Zoom, Skype, or Facetime during the rest of the year. Mentors can provide students with valuable information regarding health professions, industry-based professions, and other exciting biology-related careers. Mentors may also provide advice on the application and interview process for professional and graduate school. In return, our students keep the mentors connected to the university and the School of MCB.

Questions may be directed to Tina Knox at tmknox@illinois.edu.

History of the program

The MCB alumni mentorship program began in 2010 as the “MCB Pathways to Health Programs.” Founded by alumnus Dr. Richard Berkowitz (BS, '79, biology) and Tina Knox, (BS, ’93, biology), assistant director of advising and recruiting in the School of MCB, the program initially paired MCB students interested in medical careers with alumni physicians. Over the years, the program expanded to include alumni mentors in all health careers as well as those in research, biotechnology, and other related professions. In 2013, the mentorship program received the IlliAAC Outstanding Established Program Award and was recognized in an article in the December 2015 LAS Alumni Magazine.

Pictured here are Dr. Berkowitz and one of his mentees, Pha Thaprawat, May 2017 MCB graduate.
Dr. Richard Berkowitz and Pha Thaprawat
Dr. Berkowitz is the recipient of the 2020 LAS Distinguished Service award. Hear from Dr. Berkowitz as he provides suggestions for success at the LAS Alumni Awards ceremony. Students wanting to learn more about this opportunity can also watch this video by Dr. Berkowitz.