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Fred Foster Student Mentorship Program


  • Lighting up career paths for students


    The Fred Foster Student Mentorship Program helps lighting design and technology students make the transition into the professional working environment. Through a series of online networking events, the program introduces students to many of the industry’s brightest talent, while also illuminating what life is like out in the field. Ultimately, students are matched with a mentor from the industry who will offer career guidance and technical advice for the next year and often beyond.

    girl with laptop


    Make connections with industry mentors

    Make connections with industry mentors



    North American program


    The North American program is comprised of a series of events that take place during the summer and fall. During these events, students will meet many different lighting professionals who will potentially become mentors to the students. The sessions also serve to give students an inside look at multiple disciplines and areas in the lighting industry. Students who are currently studying in North America are eligible for this program.

    International program


    To offer a tailored experience for international students, ETC has started a new branch of the Fred Foster Student Mentorship Program. The ETC team plans separate program activities and mentor introductions based on each student’s region of study and level of experience. Students who are currently studying outside of North America at the university level, or are able to demonstrate a keen interest in lighting and design through the submission of a CV, are eligible for this program.




    Sample timeline for North American program


    JUNE
    • Virtual Kick-Off meeting with ETC program guides and all students to meet each other and discuss program expectations
    • Students are paired with a program guide who will get to know them and their goals to determine ideal mentor match
    • One to two professional mentors are matched with each student to act as a resource for career advice for the next year

    JULY-AUGUST
    • Social Event with students introducing themselves to a group of designers during a large Zoom event, shortly followed by breakout rooms for casual and lively discussions
    • ETC hosts a series of Designer Roundtables with entertainment professionals discussing specialized topics

    SEPTEMBER
    • Student Spotlight Sessions with students and mentors discussing student work in small groups

    Specialized topics


    Each year, we aim to create a well-rounded series of events that covers multiple areas in the lighting profession. We especially aim to cover areas that align with the current student group’s career interests. Below is a handful of topics we’ve covered in the past.


    • Light plot workshops
    • Lighting for theatre & dance
    • Lighting for film & TV
    • Lighting for themed environments
    • Lighting for live music
    • Lighting for opera
    • Projection & media design
    • Working at ETC

    Sample timeline for North American program


    JUNE
    • Virtual Kick-Off meeting with ETC program guides and all students to meet each other and discuss program expectations
    • Students are paired with a program guide who will get to know them and their goals to determine ideal mentor match
    • One to two professional mentors are matched with each student to act as a resource for career advice for the next year

    JULY-AUGUST
    • Social Event with students introducing themselves to a group of designers during a large Zoom event, shortly followed by breakout rooms for casual and lively discussions
    • ETC hosts a series of Designer Roundtables with entertainment professionals discussing specialized topics

    SEPTEMBER
    • Student Spotlight Sessions with students and mentors discussing student work in small groups

    Specialized topics


    Each year, we aim to create a well-rounded series of events that covers multiple areas in the lighting profession. We especially aim to cover areas that align with the current student group’s career interests. Below is a handful of topics we’ve covered in the past.


    • Light plot workshops
    • Lighting for theatre & dance
    • Lighting for film & TV
    • Lighting for themed environments
    • Lighting for live music
    • Lighting for opera
    • Projection & media design
    • Working at ETC


    Who should apply


    Students must meet the following criteria to apply.

    • Graduate students in the last 2 years of their program working toward a master’s degree or PhD in North America
    • Students in their final year of undergraduate courses at the university level during the fall semester in North America
    • For the International program, students from outside of North America who are pursuing a university degree or can demonstrate a keen interest in lighting and design through the submission of a CV

    When reviewing applications, we seek students who already have some experience in production and have a strong desire to enter the lighting profession and build a relationship with a mentor.



    Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Design and Technology


    The craft of storytelling is the foundation of the entertainment design and technology industry. ETC believes that the creators and consumers of our industry are best served when voices from all communities are included in the storytelling content and process. ETC recognizes that there is a need to address representation and accessibility of resources in many corners of the entertainment design world. We seek to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion within our industry.

    The Fred Foster Memorial Student Mentorship Program aims to provide resources and support to a diverse range of students pursuing a career in entertainment design. We are committed to continuously refining our recruiting process to make it inclusive to students and mentors from underrepresented groups. It is our intention to make intergenerational knowledge sharing more inclusive and accessible through this unique professional development pathway.


    Applications for the 2022 program are now closed

    Submit your application



    Words from past recipients


    “The mentorship events that ETC sets up immediately immersed me into the network of this Industry. Suddenly, I found myself face to face with my lighting inspirations- and they were interested in me! This is not easy- as it is a challenge to be able to articulate your artistic endeavors and goals with confidence to a group of such notoriety. However, that is part of the growth that this program with ETC invites you to have.”


    Jasmine Lesane

    Jasmine Lesane





    Honoring Fred Foster (1957-2019)


    ETC was founded by a group of college students and has grown into a global leader in lighting and rigging technology. Throughout his career, ETC Founder and CEO Fred Foster recognized the significance of mentorship in any lighting professional’s career. Yet, he understood how challenging it is to establish connections with potential mentors.

    Fred started this program in 1999, seeking to use ETC’s resources to help build the next generation of lighting greats. The Student Mentorship Program is just one way that Fred’s legacy lives on. We are honored to carry on this treasured tradition.


    Fred Foster