main navigation bar - top row

main navigation bar - bottom row

main menu

SMTD Launches “Alumni as Mentors” Resource


Students and recent graduates of the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance (SMTD) now have a powerful new tool to help them as they launch their careers in the performing arts and academia: a directory of successful, talented, and experienced alumni to help them find their way. 

SMTD's Alumni Board of Governors has just unveiled a new Alumni as Mentors (AaM) web database that creates a network of influential mentors, in all disciplines, with whom new graduates can connect for career advice and guidance. The new resource builds upon the Alumni as Mentors series of master classes, performances, and lectures that SMTD presents each year. 

Although SMTD boasts a long tradition of alumni who provide support to one another as their careers develop, over the last year the Alumni Board has focused its efforts on formalizing ways to help students navigate both their professional and personal lives after graduation.

"Networking can be such an essential tool for young artists and professionals as they enter the job market and the SMTD community is a resource not to be overlooked," said Lizzie Leopold (BFA '05, dance), artistic director and choreographer of the Leopold Group, a Chicago-based modern dance company, and chair of the AaM committee on the Alumni Society Board of Governors. "Our hope is to make the Michigan family even stronger with the AaM website."

AaM will be an invaluable resource for professional development in the performing arts world. More than 65 STMD alumni have already signed on as mentors, representing a wide spectrum of disciplines including musical theatre, performing arts management, jazz, theatre & drama, dance, and music education. They have volunteered to share their insight and experience with SMTD students and will offer their expertise on auditions/interviews, casting directors, agents/managers, industry trends, housing, secondary jobs, advanced degrees, professional development, and networking within their particular field.

Students can access the mentor directory on the AaM website. All SMTD alumni and students are granted access to the website with their U-M identity (uniqname and password). Once logged in, students and graduates can search mentors by their location or discipline. Current locations include New York City, San Francisco, Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Seattle, Philadelphia, and more.

There is no limit to how many students a mentor can take on or how many mentors a student contacts. One of the goals of AaM is to create an open conversation and sharing of resources between mentors and graduates.

"The AaM website is a resource that I wish existed when I graduated from college," said Leopold. "SMTD alums are always ready to help a fellow Wolverine and now there is an easy way to take advantage of these connections."

Alumni interested in learning more about becoming an AaM mentor, now or in the future, and students or recent graduates who would like more information about the program should contact Ellen Kettler at or 734.763.9769.



past news

September 2017
March 2014

U-M UpstART Festival Begins 03/31/2014

Students Present "Wall-to-Wall Theatre Festival" 03/27/2014

First-Ever SMTD Chamber Music Competition Launches April 5 03/27/2014

Doctoral Fellow Named MTNA Distinguished Composer of the Year 03/26/2014

Theatre Student Lands Major TV Role 03/25/2014

Elizabeth Batiuk (ethnomusicology) has been chosen as a fellow at the Sweetland/Rackham Dissertation Writing Institute for spring 2014 and James McNally (ethnomusicology) received a summer and academic year FLAS for the study of Portuguese.    03/17/2014

Musicology graduate student Elizabeth McLain has been awarded a prestigious Lurcy Fellowship for research in France during the 2014-2015 academic year.   03/14/2014

December 2013

SMTD students Zoe Kumagai, Stephanie Aboukasm, and Adam DesJardins are among students profiled in an LSA article about the "Michigan in Washington" program, in which students intern at various Washington, DC organizations and businesses, including the National Symphony Orchestra, the Kennedy Center, and the Washington Performing Arts Society.    12/10/2013

October 2013
August 2013

Evan Zegiel, a sophomore who studies with Fritz Kaenzig, was the First Place winner in the Tuba Student division of the 2013 Leonard Falcone International Euphonium & Tuba Festival.     08/21/2013

July 2013

Professor Ashley Lucas and three Theatre & Drama students are engaged in an intensive exchange program with UniRio in Rio de Janiero, Brazil this summer, where they are blogging about their experiences in UniRio's prison arts program and more.   07/12/2013

November 2011
August 2011
June 2011
Current Student News
DMA Piano Students Perform with Ann Arbor Symphony more
2018 SMTD Concerto Competition Winners Announcedmore
Two musical theatre students perform with New York Philharmonicmore

main navigation bar - top row

main navigation bar - bottom row

Photography Credits:

U-M Photo Services

Joe Welsh

Peter Smith

David Smith

Glen Behring

Tom Bower