In profile: Dana Al-Nazer and the Alumni Mentoring Programme

With the School’s Alumni Mentoring Programme now entering its third year, we spoke to Dana Al-Nazer, who graduated from our Veterinary Medicine programme in 2016/2017, about her experience as a new graduate and how the Mentoring Programme helped her in the transition from student to professional and in relocating from Dublin to California:

In 2016/2017, I had the opportunity to be mentored as part of the UCD School of Veterinary Medicine Alumni Mentoring Programme - a new programme that was being offered to UCD Veterinary Medicine and Veterinary Nursing graduates who were starting their careers with the aim of helping them transition from being a veterinary student to a practicing veterinarian or veterinary nurse. 

Like many new graduates, I was both excited and nervous about graduating and beginning my veterinary career. In addition to becoming a practicing veterinarian, I was also moving from Ireland to California to join a practice there and so had lots of questions about how to successfully make the move overseas to start my new job. After reading about the School’s Mentoring Programme, it was clear that it would be helpful to me and I was excited to participate.

I was assigned a mentor located in the US who had similar career goals and clinical interests to me. My mentor, Dr Leslie Ann Jones, was amazingly supportive during my first year. Dr. Jones and I spoke frequently and she acted as a sounding board whenever I had questions. In the first few months, I found it particularly helpful to be able to reach out to her to discuss matters like difficulties finding a work-life balance, dealing with clients and colleagues and adjusting to a new workplace. She provided beneficial guidance based on her personal experience.

The Mentoring Programme was an invaluable resource that helped me successfully make the transition to my new career as a practicing veterinarian. It helped me expand my knowledge and skills, and also helped me to build my professional network in a new country and a new job.

It’s also a fantastic opportunity for alumni to give back to their alma mater, and build strong professional relationships with those next joining our profession. Once I become eligible to mentor future cohorts of graduates, I am looking forward to supporting newly qualified veterinarians through the UCD School of Veterinary Medicine Alumni Mentoring Programme.

Becoming a Mentor

Recruitment of mentors for the 2018/2019 Alumni Mentoring Programme is ongoing.  We currently require a small number of Veterinary Medicine mentors, and due to a significant increase in interest this year, a larger number of Veterinary Nursing mentors.  If you would like to get involved, please contact Dr Helen Graham, Communications Manager,

For further information on the Alumni Mentoring Programme please see: