Frequently Asked Questions
CNAS Make Room Mentoring Network
The Make Room Mentoring Network from the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) aims to level the playing field for those underrepresented in national security and foreign policy by offering direct access to a network of engaged professionals. Mentorship drives professional growth, and the Make Room Mentoring Network provides an opportunity for participants to build the skills and contacts necessary for success in the field. The Make Room Mentoring Network connects peers in the Make Room community with specific offerings provided by volunteer mentors.
The Make Room Mentoring Network will serve as a platform for newcomers, entry-level, and early-career professionals to obtain the resources they need to explore, open doors, and succeed in the national security field. To best support individuals at these discrete career points, the Mentoring Network will offer the following support:
- Informational interviews: Mentees can receive specific guidance from mentors and hear mentors’ personal stories, recommendations, and hurdles to success.
- Writing guidance: Mentees can seek hands-on argumentation framing, article outlining, editing skills, or co-authoring with mentors to further develop opinion articles, issue briefs, or white papers.
- Résumé and cover letter support: Mentees can solicit advice on how to build a government or think tank-relevant résumé, navigate USAJobs and other government hiring sites, and draft effective cover letters.
- Career exploration: Mentees can explore different types of careers in national security by shadowing mentors on the job or participating in facilities tours (when public health circumstances permit). Availability of job shadowing and facilities tours is contingent upon workplace access.
Ultimately, the Make Room Mentoring Network aims to bolster diversity in the national security human capital pipeline by creating opportunities and equipping individuals for success and growth in the field.
CNAS Make Room Mentoring Network FAQs
How do I join the Make Room Mentoring Network?
To join the network, visit CNAS Make Room AlumniFire to create a member account for access to the network’s online platform. (Please note: membership is subject to review by the CNAS team to ensure compliance with community guidelines, so you may experience a short delay between application and approval.)
Who is allowed to participate as a mentee?
The Make Room Mentoring Network will be open to all participants who self-select as underrepresented in the national security and foreign policy fields, are United States citizens, and are 18 years or older. While barriers to entry will be low to ensure an inclusive program, consistent engagement and participation are required to remain an active member on the platform. While Make Room will not impose time requirements on mentees, memberships will be reviewed if an account is dormant for more than two months.
Who is allowed to participate as a mentor?
The Make Room Mentoring Network will be open to all participants who self-select as professionals in the national security and foreign policy fields and are United States citizens. Participants will join from a wide variety of national security and foreign policy professions, including experience in government, think tanks, academia, NGOs, industry, and consulting. While barriers to entry will be low to ensure an inclusive program, engagement and participation are required to remain an active member on the platform. While Make Room will not impose time requirements on mentors, memberships will be reviewed if an account is dormant for more than two months. Mentors are expected to respond and engage with mentees as their time permits and can select how many engagements they are willing to offer each month.
How do you define underrepresented communities?
The goal of the Make Room initiative is to create an inclusive, diverse community made up of individuals from a variety of backgrounds without imposing limits on the definition of diversity. Participants may self-identify as underrepresented in the national security space as they choose.
What if I am interested in joining as both a mentor and mentee?
We welcome your participation in the Make Room Network as both a mentor and mentee! When creating an account, all members of the network will have the opportunity to indicate whether they would like to offer mentorship services. Users who opt to offer mentorship services may still reach out to other mentors on the platform to receive those services, as well.
Are there rules or guidelines for membership?
As previously mentioned, in order to maintain active membership, members of the network will be asked to stay engaged on the platform or with Make Room with some regularity. While Make Room will not impose time requirements on mentors or mentees, memberships will be reviewed if an account is dormant for more than two months. Mentees will also be asked to complete a survey to provide feedback on Make Room programming. Mentors are expected to respond and engage with mentees as their time permits and can select how many engagements they are willing to offer each month.
Additionally, members of the network will be asked to abide by Alumnifire’s term conditions. CNAS moderators and Alumnifire reserve the right to remove mentors and mentees from the platform if they violate expectations and Alumnifire terms and conditions. For more information, please read Alumnifire’s terms and conditions, including “Section 4.4 How you’re expected to conduct yourself on the Service.”
How secure is the platform?
The Make Room Network is hosted by Alumnifire, a software regularly audited by third-party security consultants. Alumnifire does not outsource any software development related to its platform; you can learn more about Alumnifire here.
At no point will personal information that you have not chosen to share publicly ever be made publicly available. Note that personal contact information is not shared as part of interactions between members through the platform.
Additionally, while there is no formal application to join the network, Make Room will screen potential members before approving accounts in order to prevent malicious actors (e.g., bots, trolls, etc.) from infiltrating what is intended to be an inclusive space. Additionally, while there will not be a high barrier to join the network, Make Room will carefully track engagement and ensure members are meeting expectations, as outlined above.
Are mentors and mentees paired together in the program?
No. Rather than pair mentors with a single mentee, our online network allows mentees to solicit specific kinds of support from volunteer mentors in the community through direct engagement.
What types of engagements can mentors offer?
Currently, mentors are able to offer the following engagements should they so choose:
- Résumé reviews and feedback
- Cover letter review
- Writing guidance
- Co-authoring an opinion piece
- Informational interviews
- Quick question & answer
- Salary negotiation advice
We intend to offer additional engagements—including facilities tours and job shadowing—when in-person professional meetings resume based on CNAS’ operating status. Mentors will be able to select whether they wish to offer facilities tours and/or job shadowing based on restrictions on facilities access and/or clearances at their place of employment.
Can mentors and mentees contact each other outside of the platform?
Our aim is to provide an inclusive space where professionals in the field can make connections. While personal contact information is not shared at any point during an interaction directly facilitated through the Mentoring Network, mentors and mentees can mutually decide to share contact information and continue their interactions off the platform.
What should I do if I have additional questions? If you have additional questions, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from you!