Skip to main content Skip to search

YU News

YU News

Ferkauf Mentorship Program Provides Support and Advice to Students and Recent Alumni

Yeshiva University’s Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology officially launched its Mentorship Program in January 2023.

According to Dean Leslie Halpern, the program grew out of strong interest from graduate students for practical guidance regarding their professional development, as well as a healthy work-life balance.

“We consider ourselves fortunate to have alumni with extensive experience as providers of mental health services,” Dean Halpern explained. “Because our alumni work in a wide range of settings, including private practice, hospital settings, and universities, they are a wonderful resource of information for our students.”

During the year-long program, which is open to self-motivated, hardworking, and academically focused graduate students and early career professionals, Ferkauf alumni are matched with PhD, Masters, and PsyD students. These alumni serve as resources and mentors, sharing industry and career information and advice. They provide encouragement to current Ferkauf students as well as recent alumni, and point them in the right direction towards a sustainable career. Students receive solid professional advice and feedback on their goals, and assistance with transitioning from school to professional life.

The idea originated from the Board of Trustee members. Dr. Elizabeth Leight, Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees at Ferkauf, and a mentor herself, ran the program together with colleagues several years ago. For some time, the team attempted to revamp the program, which is why Lauren Leibowitz, a designee in Institutional Advancement for Ferkauf, reached out to Todd Lotcpeich, Senior Director of Employer Relations and engagement in the Shevet Glaubach Center for Career Strategy and Professional Development (SGC) over a year ago to get the program off the ground, in partnership with Dr. Leight.

Dr. Elizabeth Leight

Barbara Listhaus, member of the Ferkauf Board of Trustees, elaborated on the program's benefits. “The mentoring program provides alumni who are specialized in the field of psychology the opportunity to share their knowledge and experiences with newer professionals,” she said. “The people I worked with through this program are well educated, received outstanding clinical training, and are enthusiastic about entering the field.”

Mentorship is an enriching component of professional life, which is why Ferkauf’s Mentoring Program is such an important resource for students.

“I started the mentoring program because I believe that the greatest gifts lie in our relationships,” said Dr. Leight. “The mentor and mentee relationships are special bonds between individuals who share a common experience and appreciate the wisdom that comes from the journey. When I was a graduate student, I was fortunate to have a mentor who took great pride in my successes and was a “trusted other” when I needed clarification or simply a listening ear. I remember what a gift it was to find a mentor early in my career, and I wanted students to benefit from this unique relationship. It is my greatest pleasure to help students match with a mentor.”

Due to the Ferkauf program’s success and appeal, the Katz School of Science and Health will be mirroring this type of mentorship program for its students starting in November 2023. This initiative will, once again, take place in conjunction with the SGC.

For more information about getting involved or funding opportunities, please contact Lauren Leibowitz at