Undergraduate Research Peer Mentor Program
The Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) is pleased to announce a new Undergraduate Research Peer Mentor Program. Research has shown that peer mentoring programs are effective for both the peer mentors and the mentees. For example, peer mentors report gains in communication skills, improved career preparation, and enjoyment of the experience. Mentees report that peer mentors enhance their experiences by helping them feel more connected to the university. Peer mentoring programs have been associated with increased retention rates (Abeywardana et al., 2020; Dolan & Johnson, 2009; Thiry et al., 2011).
Peer mentors will work to promote undergraduate research at KSU in general and will specifically work with students in the First-Year Scholars Program. Peer mentors will work approximately 3-4 hours per week and will be paid $10 per hour. There are opportunities for more hours per week if your schedule permits. Please check out the information below for more details on this program.
Meet the Spring 2022 Peer Mentors!
Who is eligible to serve as a Peer Mentor?
Any undergraduate or graduate student who has experience doing research is eligible to participate. We especially encourage applicants in these categories:
- Students who have previously served as First-Year Scholars themselves
- Students with extensive research experience (1+ years) and who have presented at conferences and/or published
- Graduate students, especially in disciplines heavily represented in the First-Year Scholars Program (see the entire list of projects here).
We welcome applications from all students, including students from underrepresented minority groups.
If I already have a campus job or am a GRA/GTA, am I eligible to participate as a Peer Mentor?
Graduate students who are serving as a GRA/GTA are NOT eligible (graduate assistantships' contracts stipulate no other paid work at the university). Graduate students who do not have a paid graduate assistantship are welcome to apply.
Undergraduates who work on campus can work no more than 20 hours per week across all of their positions. If you take a Peer Mentor position, you can only work about 16 hours per week at the other campus job.
Students can have no more than 2 student assistant positions at KSU. Students who already have 2 positions would have to drop one to take on this role. Eligibility requirements and student employment parameters can be found on pages 6-8 of the student employment handbook, which you can view here.
What will I do as a Peer Mentor?
Peer mentors will serve as ambassadors for undergraduate research. The Office of Undergraduate Research is always trying to increase the visibility of undergraduate research for students. Here are some general activities for peer mentors; specifics will be negotiated with each peer mentor at the start of the experience.
Peer mentors will:
- help promote undergraduate research opportunities on campus in various ways (for example, tabling at student events, presentations to student organizations and classes, etc.).
- offer workshops on topics that are relevant for undergraduate researchers (for example, presenting at conferences, working effectively in research teams, how to seek out undergraduate research experiences, etc.).
- meet regularly with students in the First-Year Scholars Program.
- help the Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) with events and activities, such as orientations and the Symposium of Student Scholars.
- engage in other activities that support the mission of the Office of Undergraduate Research.
What kind of training will the Peer Mentors receive?
Training will be provided to all accepted mentors. Training modules will include the following:
- Undergraduate Research Overview (e.g., Office of Undergraduate Research resources and initiatives)
- Peer Mentor Program Overview (e.g., duties, requirements, time commitment, communication rules)
- Interpersonal Skills (e.g., communication skills, emotional intelligence)
- Cultural Skills (e.g., culturally responsive mentoring)
- Facilitation Skills (e.g., best practices in facilitating a workshop, best practices in working in teams)
- Campus Resources (e.g., Writing Center, Counseling & Psychological Services, Career Planning & Development, Library, Student Disability Services)
How do I apply?
The application consists of two parts:
- Applicants should complete the form below.
- Your primary research mentor should email a letter of recommendation directly to email@example.com (no more than one page). Please be sure to give your mentor plenty of time to write this letter -- let them know immediately that you are applying for this position and that the deadline is August 31, 2022. This letter should describe your research experiences under the supervision of this person, how long you've worked together, your work ethic, and your suitability for the peer mentor position for which you are applying. If you've worked with multiple research mentors, please select one (1) to submit this letter of recommendation. If your primary research mentor is unavailable to write this letter (for example, they are on leave this semester or no longer work at KSU), please contact the Office of Undergraduate Research at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange an alternative letter.
What is the selection criteria for Peer Mentors?
The following information will be used to select peer mentors:
- Disciplinary background of the applicant. Because we would like to pair peer mentors with first-year scholars in their discipline or in related disciplines, we will require Peer Mentors to cover the breadth of disciplines represented in the First-Year Scholars Program this year.
- Past experience with research. Peer mentors will need to have experience conducting research. Factors that the
review committee will consider include:
- The amount of time applicants have spent conducting research
- Experience disseminating the research at conferences and/or in publications
- Any funding the applicant has received for conducting research
- Any awards the applicant has received related to research
- Personal characteristics. Peer mentors will need to be responsible, stable, hard workers, reliable, innovative, empathetic, and show a positive attitude and willingness to learn. In addition, peer mentors need to be able to support students with diverse backgrounds and should have excellent organizational and time management skills.
What is the deadline for applications and when will I hear if I have been selected?
The deadline for applications for the 2022-2023 academic year is Wednesday August 31, 2022. Students will hear back within two weeks regarding the decision.
If I am accepted, how long will I serve as a Peer Mentor?
Students will work for one academic year. Applications will be solicited at the beginning of the Fall semester each year. Hours for each semester will be set to not conflict with your class or other work schedule.
Abeywardana, S. U., Velasco, S., Hall, N., Dillon, J., & Chun, C. A. (2020). Near-peer mentoring in an undergraduate research training program at a large master’s comprehensive institution: The case of CSULB BUILD. Understanding Interventions Journal, 11(1), 1–32. Retrieved from https://www.understandinginterventionsjournal.org/article/12477-near-peer-mentoring-in-an-undergraduate-research-training-program-at-a-large-master-s-comprehensive-institution
Dolan, E., & Johnson, D. (2009). Toward a holistic view of undergraduate research experiences: An exploratory study of impact on graduate/postdoctoral mentors. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 18(6), 487–500. Retrieved from https://www.learntechlib.org/p/166953/
Thiry, H., Laursen, S. L., & Hunter, A. B. (2011). What experiences help students become scientists? A comparative study of research and other sources of personal and professional gains for STEM undergraduates. The Journal of Higher Education, 82(4), 357–388. Retrieved from https://muse.jhu.edu/article/447038