Creighton University students participating in the JD/MS in Government Organization and Leadership (GOAL) joint-degree program spend the fall semester of their last year prior to graduation living and working in Washington, D.C. The centerpiece of the program is a practicum with a federal agency, congressional committee or office of a member of Congress. And starting this fall, a mentorship program has been added. It pairs current students with School of Law alumni living and working in the D.C. area.
Michaela Sims, JD’96, founder of the consulting firm Sims Strategies in Washington, D.C., is the coordinator of the D.C. portion of the GOAL program. She and Michael Kelly, interim dean and program director of GOAL, have been aiming to have a mentorship program in place for several years.
“GOAL is a great program, and we assess and try to improve upon it each year,” Sims says. “A driving force behind the mentorship program is to have more mentors in place to help the students throughout their semester, both with the quality of their externship experience and with their networking for potential post-graduation employment.”
Two alumni mentors, Matthew Manning, JD’11, who works as the deputy director of federal relations at the University of Iowa in D.C., and Alice Bartek-Santiago, JD’11, who works at the Federal Trade Commission, spoke with Creighton Lawyer about their involvement in the program.
What inspired you to be a GOAL mentor?
Bartek-Santiago: I wish GOAL had existed when I was a student. Breaking into the D.C. scene is tough, and I think it would have made my job search much easier with personal contacts that I would have created through my work in the local area. I want to help current GOAL students avoid the kinds of frustration and struggles I faced while trying to find my dream job in D.C. From this mentorship, I hope to develop skills to assist future Creighton graduates in coming to D.C. and expanding the Creighton footprint here. I plan on meeting up with my mentee about once a month.
Manning: I love this town and have benefited greatly from those who mentored and assisted me when I arrived and began my job search. I plan to engage with the students about once a month to determine their interests and goals to best schedule events and networking opportunities for them. However, the students must also be proactive. This is not a town to be shy in.
How else do you remain active with alumni events for Creighton law graduates?
Bartek-Santiago: I organize watching sports games at local bars and watch the Bluejays play when they’re in town for Georgetown basketball games. I also attend networking events and happy hours for current and former law students.
Manning: I sit on Creighton’s Washington, D.C. Alumni Board. Go Jays!
Do you live in Washington and want to mentor a student?
Contact goal [at] creighton [dot] edu to learn more