Founded in 2014, UC Merced’s Career Advancement Mentorship Program (CAMP) is relatively new and was developed with support from the UC Merced Staff Assembly and UC Berkeley.

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“We knew we couldn’t just copy and paste Berkeley’s program into our campus; we’re smaller and our needs and culture are different,” said Talent Development Programs Manager Yazi Navarro. “But still, it was a great place to start.”

The program runs from July to June each year, during which time it pairs experienced staff with junior employees seeking mentorship and professional guidance. Seasoned staff have an opportunity to share their time-tested knowledge, and junior staff learn to be future leaders and excel in their chosen field. Each year’s program begins with a speed networking event, during which mentees have a chance to speak with a variety of mentors to find a relationship that clicks. CAMP leadership then makes official pairings, taking participant feedback into consideration.

Each mentorship includes several workshop-based career development sessions for mentees. Trainings guide mentees to complete strength finder assessments, consider how they can best benefit from mentors’ leadership, develop a vision for their career paths and more. 

Over the past five years, CAMP has grown from 20 participants to 30, and demand is rising. Many mentors give back year after year – including staff who were once mentees themselves. And, a handful of mentees have come back a few terms, as they continue to grow their careers and seek a new skillset.

“The best part about mentorship programs is that they give all employees a chance to grow their skills while getting to know new colleagues and fostering a spirit of collaboration,” Navarro said.

Read a story about one Merced mentee’s career path, as supported by CAMP.