Chemical Education

Development, Implementation, and Evaluation of a Graduate Student-Led Transfer Student Mentorship Program



The undergraduate transfer process has well-documented challenges, especially for those who identify with groups histori-cally excluded from science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programs. Because transfer students gain later access to university networking and research opportunities than first-time-in-college students, transfer students inter-ested in pursuing post-baccalaureate degrees in chemistry have a significantly shortened timeline in which to conduct re-search, a crucial component in graduate school applications. Mentorship programs have previously been instituted as effec-tive platforms for the transferal of community cultural wealth within large institutions. We report here the design, institu-tion, and assessment of a near-peer mentorship program for transfer students, the Transfer Student Mentorship Program (TSMP). Founded in 2020 by graduate students, the TSMP pairs incoming undergraduate transfer students with current graduate students for personalized mentorship and conducts discussion-based seminars to foster peer relationships. The transfer student participants have access to a fast-tracked networking method during their first transfer semester that can serve as a route for acquiring undergraduate research positions. Program efficacy was assessed via surveys investigating the rates of research participation and sense of belonging of transfer students. We observed that respondents that participated in the program experienced an overall improvement in these measures compared to respondents that did not. Having been entirely designed, instituted, and led by graduate students, we anticipate that this program will be highly tractable to other universities looking for actionable methods to improve their students’ persistence in pursuing STEM degrees.


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Supplementary material

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Supplementary Information
Additional figures, responses to qualitative questions, and surveys