Leaders Giving Back Society of Distinguished Alumni Mentoring

As a Schreyer Scholar, you have the exclusive opportunity to connect with members of Penn State's Society of Distinguished Alumni, recipients of the University's highest honor bestowed upon an outstanding alumna or alumnus, through Schreyer's unique mentoring partnership.

Distinguished Alumni involved in this program are leaders in in their fields, and they have a deep interest in supporting Scholars.

Apply by February 5
A panel of Distinguished Alumni speaking with Schreyer Scholars

Program Overview

The Society of Distinguished Alumni (SDA) Mentoring Program pairs Schreyer Scholars with alumni mentors to engage in conversations around leadership, career advice, personal goals, and more.

The program requires a one-year commitment. Although many mentors and protégés stay in touch after their official commitment ends. The mentoring relationship is student-driven and the goals for the year, as well as decisions around how often to meet, are agreed upon by the mentor and protégé.

While many meetings may take place online, Scholars can expect to meet with their mentors in-person one to two times a year, during a fall and spring event at University Park.

Who are Distinguished Alumni

The SDA mentors are seasoned alumni who are or have been leaders in industry or academia. They include CEOs and company executives, Board of Trustee members, high-ranking military and government officials, lawyers, judges, elected officials, company owners, higher education leaders, and more.

These alumni have years of experience in their chosen fields and a wealth of knowledge to share with Scholars of any major or career path. Learn more about Distinguished Alumni on the Penn State Alumni Association website.

Eligibility and Application Process

Scholars in good standing at any campus are eligible to participate in the program. Applications are open from mid-January to late February each year. Scholars must complete an online questionnaire and submit a current resume to apply. Look for announcements in the weekly Schreyer email newsletter and on Schreyer social media accounts.

Scholars are matched with their mentors in late March. At that time, Scholars are encouraged to connect with their mentors to begin the relationship and set goals.

Expectations & Benefits

Each mentor/protégé relationship will be different and conversations will vary based on where Scholars are in their academic journey. However, all Scholars, whether a first-year or senior, can benefit from the program. While Scholars may be paired with a mentor in a field that aligns with their career goals, that is not a requirement of a successful pairing. Mentors can provide a wealth of professional and life advice that is applicable to all career trajectories.

To help ensure a successful relationship, Scholars should set clear goals but keep an open mind. Ideally, Scholars will gain a trusted advisor and friend that last well beyond the program timeline.

Some of the things Scholars may discuss with their mentors include:

Schreyer Scholar Katie Marakovits

The Distinguished Alumni Mentoring Program is such a great opportunity to make connections and learn from someone who's been in your shoes before. My mentor was so supportive and deeply cared about getting to know me and answering all my questions - we still keep in contact, and he even helped me secure my dream internship!

Katie Marakovits ' 25 Mentored by Rick Riegel '85

Leaders Giving Back Society of Distinguished Alumni Mentoring

Apply by February 5