STEM Central

A Community of Practice for NSF STEM Projects

STEP WEBINAR: A Sustainable and Scalable Peer Mentorship Model: Use of Freshmen Labs to Promote STEP Goals

As a part of the NSF STEP grant, a peer mentoring program has been developed at SUNY Oswego with the goal of increasing retention of STEM students.  Curriculum for the program was developed by surveying freshman chemistry students' interests and expectations. Now in its third semester, the program attracts great interest from junior and senior chemistry students who want to take the one credit course to serve as peer mentors. The introductory lab students were surveyed at the beginning and the end of the semester, and more than 73% of the students (n=252) thought that the peer mentors helped them understand overall chemistry concepts better. Students also indicated that the peer mentorship program made them aware of research possibilities on campus, how to reach out to the faculty members, tutoring options, etc. Peer mentorship within introductory labs resolves the problems of scheduling peer mentor/mentee meetings. It allows each student in the lab to meet weekly for 3 hours with a mentor, which provides ample time to talk while reactions take place. Some of the benefits of the peer mentoring program include implementing it at no cost using the existing lab structure, setting up the curriculum for the peer mentorship based on freshman interests, and developing teaching and networking skills of peer mentors before they graduate.

STEM Central Presenters

Guest Presenters

  • Kristin Gublo, Instructional Support Specialist and Adjunct Professor, Department of Chemistry, SUNY Oswego
  • Ashley Canning, Chemistry Peer Mentor and Biochemistry Major, SUNY Oswego