After a lackluster run last year, Georgetown Women in International Affairs is reviving its mentorship program by expanding its offerings to juniors and seniors.
The program will partner undergraduates interested in international affairs with female graduate students in the School of Foreign Service for lectures, workshops and networking events.
“We think it has great potential,” Women Leading Through Mentorship Planning Committee member Lindsey Hutchison (GRD ’15) said.
GWIA Co-President Jessica Majno (GRD ’14) stressed the importance of strong mentor-mentee relationships in the field of international affairs, citing the decision of moving abroad for a job.
“I have found having people to talk to that have been through those similar situations has been incredibly valuable, to talk about all those things, talk about careers, talk about school, talk about life,” Majno said.
In a field largely dominated by men, women often find themselves in uncomfortable situations when working in foreign countries that are less friendly toward women.
“I think that it still is sometimes difficult for women to work in international affairs depending on what part of the world it is, and sometimes in the United States as well, and I would have really benefited a lot from any advice an older woman could have given me from her experiences,” Hutchison said.
Hutchison added that she wished that she could have participated in a similar program as an undergraduate student.
“I think it’s always really important to be able to have a person in your life that can give you advice and who you can learn from, and also I think it would be a great experience for us as graduate women to be able to provide that for undergrads,” Hutchison said.
“I think as much as women have made great strides in their position in the professional field, and particularly in the field of international affairs, there’s still a ways to go,” Majno said. “We’re still not consistently among the top positions. The proportions are still in the favor of men.”
Women Leading Through Mentorship is currently limited to female participants, and interested students must fill out a survey, due Oct. 19, that will match them to a graduate student with similar interests. The survey covers academic interests, future career aspirations and regional interests, as well as languages.
“You want to get two people who can relate but can also challenge each other,” planning committee member Sarah Ewing (GRD ’15) said.
Each student pair will most likely meet a few times for coffee or similar activities, but the exact time commitment is entirely up to the students.
“It’s really what you make of it, how much you can put into it, and I think that even a little bit of time would be really beneficial,” Hutchison said.
Majno said that she hoped to see more female graduate students get involved, take up mentoring roles and engage the community in service.
“It’s an opportunity for me to give back to the Georgetown community,” Majno said.