New Orleans Saints, Pelicans seeking University students for mentorships


New Orleans’ pro football and basketball franchises are looking to add University of Louisiana at Lafayette students to their teams this semester.

The Saints and Pelicans aren’t seeking UL Lafayette students who can catch passes or drain jump shots, though. They’re after students from a range of majors who are interested in careers in industries such as sports, tourism and entertainment.

The franchises are collaborating with the University’s Office of Career Services for the eight-week New Orleans Saints and New Orleans Pelicans Mentorship Program.

The franchises will select students who have applied to participate in the mentorship program. Students will be teamed with a staff member from one of the organizations with expertise related to their academic and career interests.

Students will meet virtually with their mentors at least once a week, and have opportunities for in-person visits, including at Saints and Pelicans facilities in New Orleans. The mentors will provide professional guidance and help the students build industry relationships, said Kim Billeaudeau, director of the Office of Career Services.

“The program is strategically structured to enable students to gain professional and career readiness skills essential in today's job market,” she explained.

Students enrolled in any of 18 undergraduate programs with at least 60 credit hours and 3.0 or higher GPA’s are eligible; students enrolled in five graduate programs can also apply. The deadline is Friday, Sept. 3.

The Saints and Pelicans Mentorship Program is part of a larger collaboration that began in 2019, when UL Lafayette became an Official Higher Education Partner of both teams. The three-year collaboration provides University students with scholarships and networking opportunities.

The mentorship program was launched last spring. Six students – Aleya Domingue, Ian Gregory-Graff, Ryan Hebert, Jenna Oubre, Dian Puspasari and Tristan Steckler – were selected for the program.

Gregory-Graff, a UL Lafayette student from Scranton, Pa., who’s seeking a master’s degree in informatics, was paired with a senior business intelligence analyst with the New Orleans Saints. He said the program enabled him to “dispel many anxieties about navigating the modern job market,” and receive guidance about bolstering his skill set and crafting an effective resume.

“Discussing everything from the general landscape of the field, how to best pursue job opportunities, and the various aspects of the day to day operations in such a respected organization was extremely reassuring and advantageous for my future prospects,” Gregory-Graff said.

Learn more about the Saints and Pelicans Mentorship Program, including eligibility requirements and how to apply. 

Photo caption: The New Orleans’ Saints and Pelicans will add UL Lafayette students to their teams this semester as part of an ongoing mentorship program. Students who participated in last semester’s program are, top row, from left: Aleya Domingue, Ian Gregory-Graff and Ryan Hebert. Jenna Oubre, Dian Puspasari and Tristan Steckler are in the bottom row. (Graphic credit: Tracey Monte / University of Louisiana at Lafayette)