“You are net weaving.” This is how Analia Segal, adjunct professor (CCE) of fine arts, describes building relationships as a student and beyond, in a mentor-mentee conversation with alumna Abbey Miller, BFA Fine Arts ’20, for this issue of Prattfolio. “You’re creating rafts for yourself throughout your life, and they move, they don’t stay at Pratt.” 

To create this special section, Prattfolio connected with alumni across disciplines to highlight their experiences with mentorship—as students, early-career professionals, and mentors themselves. We also asked the alumni community, through calls in print and email and on social media, who their Pratt mentor was (or is) and how that person helped them in their work and practice.

Click through to read their stories, with perspective on finding, growing with, and being a mentor, and maybe a nugget of encouragement that you needed today.

Ian Montgomery, MS Package Design ’18: Mentorship in Sustainable Design

“Pratt kind of gives you the keys to the kingdom, and if you’re motivated, if you’re a self-starter, you can do whatever you want, and that suited me quite well.” Read more.

Light-skinned man with short beard, wire-rimmed glasses, blue work shirt, and white T-shirt smiles at the camera
Ian Montgomery ’18

Liz Hannah, BFA Film ’07: Cutting a Unique Path among Fellow Trailblazers

“Kim’s class made me articulate why I liked or didn’t like something, and make it constructive. He helped me develop my own taste as well as a vocabulary to describe it.” Read more.

A headshot of a woman with long brown hair.
Liz Hannah ’07

Sarah Sokol, BFA Interior Design ’11: Breaking New Ground in a Deep-Rooted Craft

“Being in a space where people are expressing themselves so fully was very inspiring to me.” Read more.

A person with long hair in a multicolored button-up shirt and a matching wide-rimmed hat.
Sarah Sokol ’11

Christopher Barrett, BFA Communications Design ’97: Encouraging Versatility in a Sky’s-the-Limit Industry 

“Some of my biggest influences were my fellow students.” Read more.

A man in a black shirt sitting in a black lounge chair.
Christopher Barrett ’97

James Brogan, BArch ’90: Developing Strong Voices in Architecture

“I have always emphasized the importance of the professional-academic relationship in our profession—both sides can learn so much and there needs to be a strong dialogue between the two.” Read more.

A man at a computer in a suit jacket smiling in front of a window and a plant.
James Brogan ’90, courtesy of KPF

Who Was Your Pratt Mentor?

In an open call last fall, Prattfolio asked Pratt alumni about the professors who guided them and helped them find their paths. Read more.

Perspective, Connections, and “Extreme Possibilities”

Pratt>Forward alumni Taisha Carrington, BFA Fine Arts ’18, and Jamaal Peterman, MFA Fine Arts ’19, on the career-shaping experience of the artist mentorship program. Read more.

Pratt>Forward 2022, with Mickalene Thomas (center) and Jane South and Taisha Carrington, just behind Thomas on the left and right, respectively. Photo by Luisa Opalesky

Laura Henriksen, BFA Writing ’12: One Teacher’s Mentorship Opened Whole Possible Futures

“Something that may seem small . . . absolutely changed the course of my life.” Read more.

A woman with long brown hair in a blue blouse smiling outdoors.
Laura Henriksen ’12

Lillian Benson, BFA Art Education ’70: Reinvesting Encouragement in Up-and-Coming Film Editors

“They saw something in me, they invested in me, and I now return the favor.” Read more.

A woman with gray hair in a gray dress sitting in a red chair.
Lillian Benson ’70. Photo by William Stetz

Eric Trenkamp, MA Media Studies ’18: Defining Your Own Metrics of Success

“I feel a karmic duty to repay to the next generation of artists all of the good will, advice, and opportunity that I was lucky enough to experience as a young filmmaker.” Read more.

Eric Trenkamp poses on a red carpet
Eric Trenkamp, MA Media Studies ’18

The Ripple Effect

Abbey Miller, BFA Fine Arts ’20, and Analia Segal, adjunct professor (CCE), on mentorship across time and career changes. Read more.

Analia Segal and Abbey Miller headshots side by side
Analia Segal, Adjunct Professor (CCE) of Fine Arts (left), and Abbey Miller, BFA Fine Arts ’20

Cesar Santalo, BFA Fine Arts (Drawing) ’95: Teaching Others to Find the Potential Within

“To find one’s authentic voice, it must be an internal search.” Read more.

A person in a suit and tie standing in front of a mural.
Cesar Santalo ’95

Aubrey Smyth, BFA Film ’10: Cultivating Perpetual Community

“If it were not for mentors believing in me, I wouldn’t have my dream career of directing TV, films, and commercials and owning my production company.” Read more.

A headshot of a red head woman in a leather jacket in front of a white background.
Aubrey Smyth ’10

What Makes a Mentor?

Andy P. Smith, BFA Writing ’04, on the power of having someone in your corner, and one relationship that’s carried him through. Read more.

Writer Andy P. Smith in a cap ad T-shirt posing with a camera around his neck

Alumni Guiding Alumni

Over the past year, Pratt Institute Alumni Engagement has developed new programs to support alumni and students as they advance their careers. Here are three initiatives to know about that connect the expertise of seasoned Pratt graduates with fellow alumni and alumni-to-be.

Making Your Mark

In this new virtual speaker series, alumni from across disciplines join fellow Pratt graduates and students for an interview and discussion on their careers and the finer points of professional practice. Recent events have delved into how to build a client base, with Alyssa Phillips, BFA Communications Design ’15, owner of Amp’d Designs, and creating a career path to television production, with Scott Weinstein, BFA Film/Television ’97, coproducer of Weekend Update on Saturday Night Live, in midday sessions held on Zoom. View the event recordings at talks.pratt.edu

Young Alumni Mentorship Program

Launched this spring, the new Young Alumni Mentorship Program pairs alumni at different points on their professional paths to encourage one-on-one connections and knowledge sharing. Focused on in-person mentoring, the initiative is piloting in New York City, where many Pratt alumni live and have established, or are building the foundations of, their careers. 

Dinner with Six

Current Pratt students and alumni come together for a meal and conversation in this program kicked off in late 2022. In each iteration, an alum hosts six students majoring in their field for a casual gathering to share professional experiences and industry insights. New York City-based alumni interested in hosting a Dinner with Six are encouraged to get in touch with Alumni Engagement at alumni@pratt.edu. Read more at pratt.edu/news/dinner-with-six.

The first Dinner with Six hosted by Vincent Celano, BArch ’93, at Celano Design Studio Co.
The first Dinner with Six hosted by Vincent Celano, BArch ’93, at Celano Design Studio Co.

About the Cover

Jamaal Peterman, MFA Fine Arts ’19, Train Up, 2021, oil, vinyl glitter, sand on canvas, 48 x 60 inches

“I wanted to learn from the best to become the kind of person creatives can rely on for knowledge, wisdom, and understanding,” says Jamaal Peterman, MFA Fine Arts ’19, an alumnus of Pratt>Forward, an artist-mentorship program founded by Pratt Institute Fine Arts Chair Jane South and alumna Mickalene Thomas, BFA Fine Arts ’00. Peterman, whose work is featured on our Spring 2024 cover, is among the accomplished Pratt graduates Prattfolio spoke to for this issue’s special section on mentorship. Read more.