The goal of the Institute of Diversity Sciences NSF-Funded research-practitioner network of researchers, educators, business leaders, and student (we call it the "REBLS Network") is to build solutions for students so that they thrive as they transition from high school to higher education and from higher education to workforce in tech and engineering. A mentor is an important resource who can build bridges for students transitioning to the next phase. By focusing on the transition from community college to university, the "Peer Mentoring Pathways" project directly addresses the goal of the REBLS Network to increase success of diverse STEM students. This one-year pilot program, which began in Spring 2021 is supported by a $12,000 REBLS seed grant.
This team of faculty and staff is developing peer mentoring programs in Computer Science/Engineering departments at three pairs of Massachusetts community colleges and University of Massachusetts campuses:
- Holyoke Community College and UMass Amherst
- Bristol Community College and UMass Dartmouth
- Northern Essex Community College with UMass Lowell
Students who have successfully transitioned from a community college to university will be formally trained to act as peer mentors providing support to new community college transfer students at their four-year institutions. The goal of the program is to increase student success for transfer students, particularly those from underrepresented backgrounds. The six institutions will work together to support and learn from each other, further aligning with the REBLS goal of breaking down silos and expanding connections. A professional program evaluation by Gabriel Reif (UMass Amherst, College of Education) will measure impacts and report on outcomes among faculty/staff, mentors, and mentees.
To learn more about the the REBLS Network seed grants see our Request for Proposals.