Mentor Opportunities

HSPH_ASK (Alumni Sharing Knowledge) Listserv

The goal of the HSPH_ASK listserv is a portal for HSPH alumni to offer advice specific to the students’ area of interest. Such guidance can be in the form of how to navigate through the HSPH system, academic planning, where to live in the Boston area, how to manage work/life balance, and career related questions such as balancing clinical and public health practice as well as discussing career path strategies.

What is a listserv?
A listserv is an e-mail list that requires users to subscribe. The HSPH_ASK listserv is free and only available to students and alumni of Harvard School of Public Health. The purpose of the HSPH_ASK listserv is to allow a message to be sent to all members of the group (currently over 400) who have joined (subscribed). The list of users is maintained and managed electronically by the Office for Alumni Affairs at Harvard School of Public Health.

How does it work?
Any student enrolled at the Harvard School of Public Health can join the HSPH_ASK listserv (alumni can join too). Students can post a question to the listserv throughout the year.  With 400 alumni on the listserv (and growing) there is bound to be someone with the best answer. To send an email to the list use this email address:

How do I join?
Subscribe to HSPH_ASK by filling out the following form. You will be sent email requesting confirmation, to prevent others from gratuitously subscribing you. This is a private list, which means that the list of members is not available to non-members.

Note: The default is set for weekly digest emails. You will not get daily emails unless you change your preferences. Keep this in mind if you are expecting an immediate response. Most users will only receive a digest of emails once a week. You can change your preferences here.

How do I Unsubscribe?
To unsubscribe or to update your preference fill out the following form.

Can students still email me directly?
Yes. Students (and alumni) can search for ASK Mentors using the Alumni Database and choosing ASK Mentor in the first drop down menu, so you may still receive an email from a student. However, the listserv was created so that students could receive answers from more than one alumnus.

Should I reply to the listserv or to the student directly?
It's completely up to you. Remember, the default email notification for everyone is set to weekly digest so no one should be receiving daily emails unless they change their preferences. With that in mind you may want to respond directly to the student so they receive your email promptly.

Listserv Rules and Etiquette

As with any community, there are guidelines governing behavior on the listserv.

This is a forum for questions and answers related to Harvard School of Public Health and issues pertinent to students at HSPH. As such, there are:

No press releases
No job postings
No commercial messages
No jokes, chain emails, or petitions
No invitations to parties, events, or social media groups

Messages must be original. No articles copied from newspapers, websites or brochures.

  • Include a signature tag on all messages. It is helpful to include your name, title, location, and e-mail address.
  • State concisely and clearly the topic of your comments in the subject line. This allows members to respond more appropriately to your posting and makes it easier for members to search the archives by subject.
  • Include only the relevant portions of the original message in your reply. Delete any header information, and put your response before the original posting.
  • Only send a message to the entire list when it contains information that benefits everyone.
  • Send messages such as "thanks for the information" or "me, too" to individuals--not to the entire list. Do this by using your e-mail application's forwarding option and typing in or cutting and pasting in the e-mail address of the individual to whom you want to respond.
  • Do not send administrative messages, such as “remove me from the list”, through the listserv. To unsubscribe from the list, follow the directions at the bottom of the listserv email message.
  • Warn other list subscribers of lengthy messages either in the subject line or at the beginning of the message body with a line that says "Long Message.”
  • When using an Auto Reply message for times you are out of the office, please be sure to “Create a Rule” (this is easily done with Microsoft Outlook’s Out of Office Assistant) that would prohibit sending the message to the list.

Diversity Mentor

The Office of Diversity's Alumni Mentor Program matches current students with local HSPH alumni, based on academic, research, professional, and/or personal interests. The Diversity Mentor program strives to provide students of color the opportunity to more easily access and interact with HSPH alumni of color. The program is open to all students.

How does it work?
Students are able to build personal and professional relationships with HSPH alumni of color and form collaborative, supportive, and nurturing communities. To view the program description, click here.

What is expected from the Diversity Mentor?
Alumni mentors are highly encouraged to attend a twice-yearly group meeting with the Mentor Program cohort. Otherwise, regular communication with the student is expected.

What is expected of the student?
Accept the relationship on a temporary basis
Follow through on commitments made to the volunteer
Ask the mentor for suggestions and advice
Listen to the alumna/us; apply at least some of the advice

For more information, contact Venus Israni at For more information on the Office of Diversity, visit their website. Please fill out the volunteer application if you are interested in participating as a mentor.

International Ambassador

The International Alumni Ambassador program provides immediate support and assistance to HSPH international students through correspondence that begins before students arrive on campus. The program matches incoming international students with alumni who either reside in their home country/province/city or share the same citizenship. Alumni Ambassadors share how they managed the student visa process, offer suggestions on how to find housing in the Boston area, steps on acquiring a U.S. credit card, working with the home embassy, and otherwise help make the transition to a U.S. graduate student go smoothly.

How does it work?
In late May or early June, each alumna/us is assigned a student or group of students to offer support and guidance on what they need to know about coming to the U.S. and transitioning as a graduate student at the Harvard School of Public Health. Alumni Ambassadors and students review the Pre-arrival Checklist together as a way to prepare students in coming to the U.S. The correspondence generally lasts only a few months, typically June through August, but students and alumni are encouraged to remain in contact.

What is expected of an International Ambassador?
Connect with the student or students prior to their arrival to the U.S. by telephone, Skype, or in person Review the Pre-arrival Checklist with the student Offer suggestions and advice on how to transition to the U.S. Relay “lessons learned” to the student

What is expected of the student?
Accept the relationship on a temporary basis
Ask the volunteer for suggestions and advice on what is important to know before coming to the U.S.
Listen to the alumna/us; apply at least some of the advice

Fill out the online application if you are interested in becoming an International Alumni Ambassador.


Do alumni have to go through any training?
The life experience of an alumnus is their training. Alumni Ambassadors will receive a Checklist to go through with the student and Admissions volunteers may receive information about the specific event. Otherwise, alumni are encouraged to impart their own wisdom and pass on lessons learned to the student.

Are any volunteer positions paid?
None of the volunteer positions are paid.

What type of background does an alumnus have to have to volunteer?

Alumni from any background and degree are needed. While alumni from all classes are welcome, very often students like to hear from recent graduates.

Does the alumnus volunteer have to be local?

No. Except when there is a need for panelists and speakers, alumni and students can communicate via email, Skype or in-person.

How do I apply?
Fill out the volunteer application to volunteer application.

How do I give feedback on any of the programs?
Email David Rogers with ideas on how to improve any of the programs, as well as any questions or concerns.