Student Affairs Mentoring (SAM)

The Student Affairs Mentoring (SAM) program is an organization that connects current undergraduate or graduate students interested in pursuing a career in student affairs with professionals across the UW-Madison, Edgewood College, or Madison College campuses. This voluntary group is a great opportunity for students to explore their interest in higher education and for staff to share their experiences and career guidance.

If you are interested in joining us as a mentor or mentee, please email


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SAM is an opportunity to explore the field of student affairs as a career option with limited commitment, which is to say, it’s not like committing to a graduate program or even to a weekly meeting. Undergraduate and graduate students can sign up for SAM as a mentee and be matched with a student affairs professional, a mentor, who is currently working in the field.

The SAM leadership team will send out updates and information and offer support in guiding pairs’ conversations, but it is really up to the mentors and mentees to determine how often they should meet.

SAM’s Learning Outcomes:

  • Connect undergraduate and graduate students who are exploring a career in student affairs to current student affairs professionals at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Edgewood College, and Madison College.
  • Foster the development of the student affairs field through a mentoring relationship.
  • Provide guidance and support to students interested in pursuing a career in student affairs.
  • Introduce mentees to opportunities, resources, and experiences within different areas of the student affairs field.
  • Cultivate interest in and passion for working with students.


In the fall of 2009, UW- Madison staff members were attending the Wisconsin College Personnel Association Conference and realized that although there were many students interested in pursuing a career in student affairs, there was not an organized group on campus to support them in this. The five professionals got together and started the Student Affairs Mentoring program, also known as SAM, at UW-Madison. SAM’s main purpose was to match interested students with a professional in the field of student affairs and higher education. In its first year, SAM paired 22 students with mentors in a variety of areas across campus.

The program has grown each year. In 2014, SAM joined with the Student Personnel Association of Madison (SPA), to work together in planning events and connecting students and professionals across University of Wisconsin-Madison, Edgewood College, and Madison College campuses. In 2016, SAM registered to become an official student organization.

Each year, SAM offers an annual kickoff event, hosted by Dean Lori Berquam in her home. SAM also provides events, networking opportunities, and encourages mentor/mentee pairs to get together monthly. Throughout the 2016-17 academic year, we matched 20 mentor/mentee pairs, and had 3 graduating mentees get placed in graduate school with assistantships/internships in their student affairs area of interest. Click hereto see advice from our graduating mentees!


NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, formerly the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, is the leading voice for student affairs administration, policy, and practice, and affirms the commitment of the student affairs profession to educating the whole student and integrating student life and learning. Founded in 1919 at the University of Wisconsin, NASPA has more than 13,000 members at 1,400 campuses, and 25 countries. NASPA members are committed to serving college students by embracing the core values of diversity, learning, integrity, collaboration, access, service, fellowship, and the spirit of inquiry.


If you have questions or comments about SAM, please email