College of Architecture, Art and Construction

School of Architecture launches new mentorship program to connect academics with professional practice


Photo from left to right: Kelsey Piotrowski (left), Sam Herin (middle), Sallie Hambright-Belue (right).
Mentorship coordinators standing around a computer talking. Photo from left to right: Kelsey Piotrowski (left), Sam Herin (middle), Sallie Hambright-Belue (right).
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The School of Architecture’s Bachelor of Arts in Architecture and Bachelor of Landscape Architecture programs are working to connect undergraduate architecture and landscape architecture majors with mentors through a new mentorship initiative for students, alumni and licensed architects.

Dubbed the SoA Mentorship Program, the first program of this type in Clemson’s new TigerLink initiative, it is designed to integrate the academic experience with professional practice. Sallie Hambright-Belue the director of undergraduate architecture programs, Sam Herin the president of the Clemson Architectural Foundation and founding partner of Stubbs Muldrow Herin Architects and graduate architecture student Kelsey Piotrowski came together to build the new program.

“It wasn’t until the end of my second year that I was fortunate enough to get a job in an architect’s office,” said Herin, a Clemson alumnus. “That first summer, I did more odd jobs around the office than ‘architecture work,’ but more importantly, I developed some wonderful mentors who helped me focus on things that allowed me to come back to that office and do ‘real work.'”

“The year I entered was 1978. It sounds a lot like the students I talk to today. This is why I have become impassioned about how this mentor program, with willing mentors, can enhance the student’s education beyond what is imaginable.”

Sam Herin, Clemson Architectural Foundation President

The program focuses on first- and second-year students, connecting undergraduate students with the architecture and landscape architecture profession in meaningful ways, and meets the demands of practitioners and alumni who want to give back to the School. Students will be matched with a mentor for a full academic year, where they will learn interview skills and get their first taste of the profession by shadowing their mentors.

“As a graduate student coming to Clemson from a university with a robust mentorship program, I can clearly see how my early experiences connecting with professionals in an academic setting helped further my professional development,” said Piotrowski. “I am eager to see Clemson undergraduate students benefit from a professional mentorship program, just as I was fortunate to do.”

Expanding professional reach

The new program is not limited to architecture professionals in South Carolina. The School hopes to have national and international professionals participate to give first and second-year students a more holistic view of the profession.

“We are expanding our reach into the profession, not only in South Carolina but across our nation and world,” Hambright-Belue said. “This program will allow us to connect with alumni and professionals nationally and internationally, giving our students more opportunities to grow and learn.”

According to Hambright-Belue, the program will offer mentors experiences to help them grow their mentoring skills and better understand a new generation of architecture students who will be shaping the profession in the coming years. The program is interested in mentors who have the time to commit to monthly meetings with their mentees on various topics such as portfolios, interviewing, career planning, professionalism and much more. The first round of mentorships are set to start in the 2024 Fall semester and last through the Spring semester.  

While the program is set to start in the 2024 Fall semester, the School of Architecture is looking for alumni, licensed architects, landscape architects and firms interested in becoming mentors for first and second-year students. If you or your firm are interested in becoming a mentor sign up to join TigerLink. TigerLink will be the platform where notices, reminders and other resources for mentors are housed. For firms or interested licensed architects who are not alumni of the University, they will need to indicate their connection to Clemson during their registration on the TigerLink platform.

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