Program Overview

The North Carolina Independent Colleges & Universities (NCICU) iBELONG Mentoring Program provides funding to implement a strategy designed to increase persistence, retention, and/or graduation rates of first- and second-year students particularly those from underrepresented and historically marginalized communities on campus through programmatic efforts to mentor, coach, and to make forums available for the students to explore various career opportunities.

In 2022, Dr. Travella Free, Executive Director of the Center for Access and Success, was awarded NCICU grant funding to implement an iBELONG Mentor Program at Elon University.

The Center for Access and Success and its campus partners, Elon’s Student Professional Development Center, Center for Race, Ethnicity, and Diversity Education, and Odyssey Program have structured a program for underrepresented students at Elon that include three major program components:

  • 1 – 1 Mentoring
  • Career Readiness and Professional Development Tasks
  • Program Forums and Events

For the 1 – 1 Mentoring component, the team collectively decided to journey off the beaten path of the popular peer-to-peer mentoring format and explore a format that allows program participants to be paired with professional mentors (most of which are well into their careers) to offer career and professional development perspectives from personal experience.

The Student Professional Development Center’s, Rene Jackson, Associate Director of Career Services for Graduate School Programs and Director of PACE Program, played an integral role in outlining the programs’ Career Readiness and Professional Development Tasks by tailoring a list of SPDC offerings specifically for iBELONG program participants.

The third component, Program Events and Forums, will consist of networking and professional development events exclusively for iBELONG program participants.

As program participants move through the program accomplishing SPDC tasks together, attending networking and special events together, and establishing relationships with their mentors and each other, we anticipate a fostered sense of community and belonging that may positively affect retention and graduation rates for this demographic.

Get Involved with iBELONG

Program Roles

Program Participants – iBELONG Program Participants are Elon University underserved students who are in their first or second-year, and in good academic standing. Program participants receive one-on-one professional mentors, tailored career and professional development, and exclusive networking and professional development event access.

Program Mentors – iBELONG Program Mentors are individuals who have a demonstrated professional background. Mentors are considered for program participation by recommendation of an Elon faculty or staff member.

Program Ambassadors – iBELONG Program Ambassadors are the “PULSE” of the program. They provide necessary and valuable input as members of the iBELONG planning team, and simultaneously, benefit from career and professional development opportunities offered through the iBELONG Male Mentoring Program.


Groups, organizations, and businesses may get involved with iBELONG in various capacities as it aligns with program objectives.

If you are interested in getting involved with the iBELONG  Mentoring Program in any of these capacities, you may submit the form below to contact the program team.

ATTN: Program acceptance for the 2023-2024 academic year is now open.