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Advising News | Psychology Peer Mentors help undergraduate students navigate college life, careers

Editor's Note: This series is prepared by success advisors in the College of Arts & Sciences.

The Psychology Peer Mentoring program provides undergraduate students studying psychology at Ohio University an opportunity to interact with graduate student mentors to explore graduate school and careers, as well as to discuss issues of diversity, academics and student life in a supportive, informal environment.

“As a first-generation college student, I did not appreciate the value of a mentor until well after I graduated. Mentors have traveled the road you want to take and will provide you with valuable guidance and make sure you ask the right questions, seek the right experiences, and prepare for your future after your undergraduate degree,” Dr. Julie Suhr, professor of psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences, said.

The purpose of the mentoring program is to connect undergraduate students in psychology with graduate student mentors to discuss issues related to academics and life on campus, among other topics.

The goals of this mentoring program are to:

  •    Facilitate a supportive relationship between the mentor and mentee.
  •    Provide guidance on pursuing graduate school or a career in psychology.
  •    Help all students, especially students from diverse backgrounds, navigate the demands of undergraduate life.
  •    Open a dialogue about the impact of diversity on one’s experiences, academic and otherwise.
Kim Rios
Dr. Kimberly Rios

“I had a graduate student mentor throughout my time as an undergraduate at my university. Her support through the research process and during graduate school application time was, and continues to be, instrumental to my professional development,” Dr. Kimberly Rios, associate professor of psychology, said. “Even now, I see my former graduate student mentor at conferences and can turn to her as a source of advice and guidance. Similarly, I make myself available as a mentor to former as well as current students, even when we are no longer at the same institution.”

While the primary aim of the program is to provide support to diverse students and increase recruitment of these students into graduate programs, the program is not limited to students who identify with a diverse group. However, the program may be of particular interest to students who wish to discuss issues of diversity and how these issues relate to academics and student life in a supportive, informal environment.

“As a student, I gained access to information through my mentors about job opportunities, recent research relevant to my own work that I may not have come across through less personalized sources such as the internet or in less personalized contexts such as presentations and classrooms,” Rios added.

Common topics covered in mentoring relationships include:

  • Planning for, and getting into graduate school
  • Graduate school applications
  • Networking
  • Psychology course selection and schedule planning
  • Diversity in professional psychology
  • Discussion of current social and political issues

For more information, contact

November 29, 2021
Staff reports