Professional Mentorship Program

Mentorship builds confidence and inspires students as they transition from academia to practice. It is mutually beneficial for the mentor and mentee in generating enthusiasm, sharing knowledge, and engendering curiosity. DURP and the American Planning Association Hawaii Chapter have partnered to offer a mentoring program on professional development for graduate students by pairing participating second-year students with experienced planners in the Chapter. Students who wish to be paired with a mentor may submit a completed application form.


APAHI mentors, as a service to DURP, are willing to contribute to the professional development of graduate students in the field of urban and regional planning that provides benefits such as:

  1. Advice on career options
  2. Practical perspectives on technical subjects
  3. Networking opportunities with professional planners
  4. Guidance on professional development opportunities
  5. Discussion on the benefits of professional certification (AICP)


  • DURP second-year students and Ph.D. candidates who apply for a mentor.
  • APAHI members who volunteer to be a mentor to a DURP student
  • DURP sponsor:  Chair, supported by mentee’s advisor
  • APAHI sponsor:  President, supported by mentoring committee chair (ad hoc)

Mentor/Mentee Matching Process

  1. Mentee submits an application (form provided) to DURP
  2. Faculty, with assistance by APAHI, identify potential matches of mentors for mentees.
  3. Mentee and mentor confirm potential match in September at kick-off meeting or on own.
  4. If no confirmation, a different mentor is identified for confirmation.

Kick-off meeting for Mentors and Mentees

Mentors, mentees, and faculty attend a pau hana at DURP to discuss the program. Mentor and mentee meet each other to discuss expectations, meeting/activity frequency, and responsibilities. Coordinate with student’s advisor.


An agreement is made between mentor and mentee based on mutual expectations.

Mentoring throughout academic year

The mentoring program will generally run throughout the academic year (August through May).

Pau hana and Evaluation

DURP and APAHI will organize an end-of-year pau hana for participants. The mentor and mentee will each provide an evaluation to DURP and APAHI. DURP/APAHI will review the evaluations to identify areas for improvement.

Program Forms


“The mentoring program was worthwhile to understand the aspirations of and challenges facing student planners. The program also provides mentors with opportunities for personal and professional growth because it challenges mentors to reflect upon their own values and experiences and communicate their insight in a manner relevant to the mentee’s interests.”

Mentor, 2019-2020

“It was good to be able to get a feel for students’ interests, as well as the direction that DURP has been/is moving in. It was also helpful to get an idea of what the students are learning to be able to gauge it against the skills/knowledge that we need in the type of planning that we do.”

Mentor, 2019-2020

“In my case, my mentor invited me to community meetings that his department was hosting. I was able to meet community members, hear their concerns, observe how the meetings were conducted, and the reality of conflict and negotiation in planning practice.”

Mentee, 2019-2020

“Thank you so much! I have received excellent advice and guidance. My mentor is an experienced and knowledgeable confidant to whom I can bounce ideas off of, and get sound advice back. He also has the ability to encourage self-confidence; to go ahead and do those things I am thinking about. I am thankful to have someone on my team who is invested in my professional development and success. Mahalo.”

Mentee, 2019-2020