To the Adroit community,

We are thrilled to bring The Adroit Journal Summer Mentorship Program back for an eighth year, and can’t wait to see what’s in store. With our announcement of the 2020 program come two important announcements regarding program changes. 

First, the esteemed and wonderful Carly Joy Miller has stepped down from her role as co-director of the mentorship program after four years of dedication and commitment to the success and experience of our mentees. During her tenure, she oversaw 154 mentors and 174 mentees as they navigated the mentorship. Her behind-the-scenes work has enabled the mentorship to continue to develop in incredibly meaningful ways, and we are beyond grateful for her attention and care. The 2020 mentorship program will be co-directed by John Allen Taylor and Peter LaBerge. 

Our second announcement: Beginning this summer, the mentorship will move to a tuition-based model, with robust financial aid available. Participation in the mentorship for students who do not qualify for financial aid will cost $295 per mentee. Please note that there will be no application fee.

This conversation has been ongoing with program leadership for many years, and the decision to finally move in this direction has not been made lightly. With the exponential growth of the program, its offerings, and interest in participation in it, continuing to offer the program at no cost was poised to directly inhibit the quality of the mentorship experience. In 2018, the mentorship received 412 mentee applications; in 2019, this number increased to 671 mentee applications. Despite the growth, the mentorship has been run by just two volunteer co-directors, a small group of volunteer Adroit interns, and an amazing group of volunteer mentors brought on each year. 

We hope to bring these changes into the mentorship program with as little ripple as possible. The accessibility of the mentorship has long been one of the program’s most attractive qualities to young writers nationally and internationally. We want to assure mentee applicants for whom tuition will be a barrier that fee remission and generous financial aid will be available. Applications will be read in accordance with our existing best practices: finding promising writers who will most benefit from working with our chosen mentors. Financial need will be addressed entirely separately, and will not be an influencing factor on the mentorship’s admission decisions. Program co-directors will not have access to financial need information until after admission decisions have been made.

Immediately preceding and during the 2019 summer mentorship program, the co-directors each worked between 10-15 hours every week in reading applications, managing the mentorship’s educational platform and social media, coordinating outreach to English instructors and student writers around the world, emailing with the 56 mentors and 56 mentees, facilitating peer reviews, and ensuring each individual mentorship was unfolding on schedule. The co-directors also relied on other members of the Adroit leadership team to manage the incredible number of applications and overflow tasks that came up throughout the mentorship.

In addition to enabling program administrators to better manage the public-facing and behind-the-scenes elements of the mentorship program, we’re eager to pay mentors for their time and commitment to our mentees. The individualized, concentrated, and remote mentorship and feedback our mentees receive is unique to the Adroit Journal Summer Mentorship Program. We hope to strengthen these relationships even more by providing even more structural support before, during, and after the program. We know there are many would-be mentors who have not had the opportunity to volunteer, and we hope offering a stipend to mentors will further expand the breadth of writers able to offer support to our mentees.

Because this will be the mentorship’s first summer with a paid model, we do not have clear projections on what revenue will be. However, we will remain transparent about revenue generated from this summer’s program, how it is earmarked, and how it is spent. Our priority will be paying mentors an honorarium, prioritizing returning mentors who would like to mentor again (since this is our first year of offering compensation for time). With conservative projections of revenue/financial aid, this would leave an estimate of $5,000. This portion of revenue will be used to cover administrative expenses and leadership honorariums, as well as the tech stack we require to execute the mentorship each year (software like our Adobe Creative Cloud subscription; WordPress subscription; our email marketing provider; our outreach tools; and more).

We remain committed to offering an accessible mentorship experience to young writers anywhere with an Internet connection, and to offering a fruitful experience to our mentors. We are determined to mitigate as many barriers as possible that a paid model may traditionally bring, and we are hopeful this adjustment to our program will lead to more robust and sustainable experiences for admin, mentors, and mentees alike.

Mentor applications will open February 1st, and mentee applications will open March 1st. The summer 2020 mentorship program will begin on June 28th. We hope you will throw your hat in the ring and join us. 

If you have any questions, concerns, or comments, please don’t hesitate to reach out to co-directors John Allen Taylor and Peter LaBerge at adroitmentorship@gmail.com. We’re looking forward to speaking with you.

Excited for what’s to come,

John Allen Taylor & Peter LaBerge, 2020 Co-Directors

John Allen Taylor & Peter LaBerge
John Allen Taylor & Peter LaBerge

John Allen Taylor and Peter LaBerge are the co-directors of the 2020 Adroit Journal Summer Mentorship Program.

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