Honors Mentor Council

Mentor Program shield


The Mentor Council has two primary goals: to promote leadership development within the Mentor Program and to strengthen the Honors Mentor community. In this effort, Council members have a great deal of personal agency, while also receiving guidance from the Mentor Council President and the Director of the Mentor Program. In the spring, Mentor Council members coordinate the mentor hiring process, help with selections, and welcome the new cohort to the program through the Legacy Event. In the fall, they assist with mentor orientation and training events. Beyond this, each year the council works collaboratively to identify a particular set of values that they want bolster within the program, and they coordinate a small but effective set of initiatives, events, and other strategies to promote those values. In all three aspects, council members gain a good deal of experience with strategic planning, decision making, and teamwork within a larger organization.

Council members gain opportunities that go far beyond the usual mentor experience, as they identify and hone skills necessary for large-scale leadership. They gain a deeper appreciation for how leadership works from an institutional perspective and across a larger population – a significant departure from leading small groups. Mentor council members have a scope of influence that very few students ever experience: they help select and empower 80+ peer mentors, and through these mentors they impact the first-year experience of over 500 students each year. Ultimately, council members have an opportunity to impact their community and the Honors curriculum in profound ways.


Council members begin their yearlong tenure in January and are expected to dedicate two hours a week to their efforts throughout the Spring and Fall semester. The workload is higher the week of mentor interviews in February and the first week of class in the Fall, as members help plan and run the orientation and training events. Part of this commitment includes biweekly meetings where council members coordinate their efforts with the Mentor Council President and receive further training. It is also assumed that Mentor Council members will participate in the Mentor program in the Fall semester.

Additionally, the council attends an exclusive, two-day leadership retreat at Camp Tecumseh in the spring. During their stay, they continue to explore and develop their leadership mission. The experience helps council members recognize what it means to lead in partnerships with other strong leaders. In addition, the dedicated time to focus on one’s growth is not only fun and exciting, but an opportunity to bond with their team.


The Mentor Council members take on specific roles in their efforts to support the mission and goals of the Mentor Program. That said, the council is highly collaborative, so members often share in the roles of others and thus gain similar skills.

  • Executive: This committee will consist of two members; one will serve as the President and one will serve as the Vice President. These members work closely with the Program Director and are responsible for keeping the goals of the Program in mind and ensuring that all events and promotions are aligned with those goals. They are responsible for running council meetings and communicating important information to the larger Mentor Program. They are also responsible for keeping track of monetary and other resources available to the Program. These members have the opportunity to develop a vision for the program, to motivate others to support it, and to develop skills and strategies that are essential for large-scale leadership.
  • Event Planning: This committee consists of at least three council members with one of them acting as the committee chair. These members plan and coordinate major events, including mentor interviews, the legacy party, mentor orientation, and mentor training. These council members rely heavily on planning, systems thinking, and problem solving skills while ensuring that events run by the Mentor Council proceed smoothly and meet their intended goals. They also get unique opportunities to hone their public speaking skills.
  • Community & Outreach: This committee consists of at least three council members with one of them acting as the committee chair. These members work through social media and regular casual gatherings to inspire mentors, increase engagement, and promote events. They are also responsible for visual media related to the program, including promotional flyers and the bulletin board. These members will rely heavily on their organizational and communication skills during their term, and hone their capacity for interpersonal motivation.

2017 Mentor Council Testimonials

Jacob Nolley
Jacob Nolley – Mentor Council President

Jacob is a junior dual-majoring in Business Management and Marketing with a minor in Creative Writing and a Certificate of Entrepreneurship and Innovation. He has been a mentor for one year and joined the Honors Mentor Council in order to expand and grow the Honors Mentor Community. While President of the council, he hopes to increase mentor engagement with the program by empowering and motivating the community to take ownership of the program. He hopes to achieve this by developing an inclusive, enjoyable, and engaging presence both online and on campus. Outside of the Honors Mentor Council, Jacob interns at the Purdue Welcome Center and works towards developing his several ventures in entrepreneurship.

Emily Overway
Emily Overway – Mentor Council Vice President

Emily is a Junior majoring in Biochemistry with minors in Natural Resources and Environmental Science, Political Science, and Biological Science. She has been a mentor for two years and joined the Honors Mentor Council as a way to contribute more to the Honors Mentor Program. Throughout this year, she wants to help increase interest in and commitment to the Honors Mentor Program by creating a series of enjoyable, engaging activities that both mentors and mentees can attend. Outside of the Honors Mentor Council, Emily is involved in Purdue Student Government, the Purdue Student Sustainability Council, and is on the Paint Crew Advisory Board.

Lauren Jankowski
Lauren Jankowski – HLC Representative

Lauren is a Junior in a self-designed engineering major that focuses on neuroscience, and she is working towards minors in Psychology and Biological Sciences. She is passionate about mental health and joined the Honors Mentor Council with two goals in mind. First, she wants to work to increase awareness of mental health disparities in college students and ensure that both mentors and mentees are cognizant of the resources available to them. Second, she hopes to strengthen the mentor community by encouraging relationships and networking among mentors, mentees, and professors alike. Fun and engaging weekly events will help to accomplish this goal. Outside of working with the HMC, Lauren works as a Teaching Assistant for freshmen engineering courses and researches in a biomedical engineering laboratory focusing on global health.

Gabby Buck
Gabby Buck – Events Committee Chair

Gabby is a Junior majoring in Biochemistry, and was a mentor for two years. She decided to join the Honors Mentor Council in order to help create a deeper sense of community within the Honors Mentor Program, particularly among mentors and between mentors and professors, and to promote the merits of both the mentor program and the Honors College as a whole. She hopes to do so through fun, impactful events that encourage personal development and camaraderie. Outside of the the Honors Mentor Council, she performs research in a biochemistry laboratory focused on plant metabolism and is a Biochemistry Buddy, introducing new Biochemistry students the major. In the Summer 2018, she will perform research abroad in Germany.

Abby Mesfin
Abby Mesfin – Events Committee Member

Abby is a Sophomore majoring in Biology with a minor in Chemistry. She has been a mentor for one year and has joined the council because of her commitment to the program. Abby wants to focus on planning fun and engaging events to interest members in becoming more involved in the Honors Mentor Program, while developing their own skills. Additionally, she wants to ensure that this program fosters an inclusive environment by respecting and understanding the benefits of individual differences. Outside of the Honors Mentor Council, Abby is involved in the American Medical Student Association (AMSA), volunteers at Mental Health of America (MHA), and has begun research in a laboratory studying the role of microRNAs in lung cancer.

Andrew Purdy
Andrew Purdy – Events Committee Member

Andrew is a Junior and a First-Year Doctor of Pharmacy student. He has been a mentor for two years prior to joining the Honors Mentor Council, and joined the council due to his desire to take ownership of the mentor program in a way that allowed him to shape it as a whole. As a member of the mentor council, he wants to focus his efforts on building a stronger community and group dynamic within the mentor program, not only between mentors and their students but also between mentors and professors, students and professors, and among the mentors themselves. Outside of the Honors Mentor Council, Andrew is a student assistant in a cancer epigenetics lab through the Purdue Center for Cancer Research, in addition to being involved in the Purdue Running Club, Purdue Cru, Boiler Gold Rush, and American Pharmacists Association (APhA-ASP).

Jackie Malayter
Jackie Malayter – Community & Outreach Committee Chair

Jackie is a Sophomore majoring in First-Year Engineering, and will continue into Electrical Engineering, with a certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation. She has been a mentor for one year. Based on this experience, she aims to increase the sense of community and increase mentor and mentee involvement in the program by means of increased social media presence and interaction. Personally, she hopes to improve her communication skills and take a creative approach to leadership by finding new ways and methods to lead and push mentees to grow. Outside of the council, Jackie is an athlete on the Purdue Crew team. Aside from this, she enjoys making music with her close friends in various projects.

Ally Crouch
Ally Crouch – Community & Outreach Committee Member

Ally is a Sophomore majoring in Strategy and Organizational Management with a minor in Horticulture and a certificate in Collaborative Leadership. She has been a mentor for one year and joined the Honors Mentor Council in hopes that she can give the Honors Mentor Program more meaning. With her year on the council, Ally wants to help increase awareness of events mentors can attend to get to know other mentors and their mentees better. She plans on doing this through more engaging social media. Outside of the Honor Mentor Council, Ally is involved with the Society of Human Resource Management, is actively engaged in research through Krannert, and employed at Tarkington Market.

Yoshi Yamakawa
Yoshi Yamakawa – Community & Outreach Committee Member

Yoshi is a Sophomore majoring in Pre-Professional Health Science (Pre-medicine) with minors in Sociology and Forensic Science. He has been a mentor for one year and joined the Honors Mentor Council with the goal of cultivating a diverse and inclusive environment for Honors students. As part of the Community and Outreach committee of the council, he hopes to reach out to a wider demographic and create a more unbiased and unprejudiced setting for incoming freshman classes. Outside of the Honors Mentor Council, Yoshi is involved in the Honors College Global Committee, Executive Board of First Street Tower Residence Hall Club, and is employed at the Purdue Police Department.

Dr. Watkins
Dr. Adam Watkins – Director of the Honors Mentor Program

Dr. Watkins is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Honors College, who specializes in interdisciplinary approaches to environmental studies, cognitive historicism, and science and literature studies. He has directed the Mentor Program for four years. He is committed to a leadership model that prioritizes individual growth, champions diversity, and promotes inclusion in the effort of achieving collective goals. As the faculty advisor to the Mentor Council, he hopes to empower exceptional leaders who will each have a vital and unique role to play in maximizing the potential of the Mentor Program. Outside of his work with the Mentor Program, Dr. Watkins teaches a variety of dynamic classes in the Honors College, advises the Society of Arts and Letters, is a published poet and literary scholar, and is father to an amazing little person named Ruth.

How to Become a Mentor Council Member

Mentor Council members are selected through an application process that occurs in the second half of the Fall semester. All previous mentors who are committed to returning the next year are eligible to apply. Please reach out to Dr. Adam Watkins, Director of the Mentor Program, if you wish to apply (aewatkin@purdue.edu). This year's application deadline is TBA.

The Mentor Council President is selected from previous Mentor Council members, based on prior experience and an application. Council Members and the President begin their terms at the start of the Spring semester and continue through the end of the Fall semester, allowing them to select and train their own mentor cohort.