Undergraduate Peer Mentoring Program
Purpose: The mentoring program is designed to provide academic and social support to women entering the University of Iowa with an interest in a science, mathematics, computer science, engineering, or healthcare. Our philosophy is based on research and practice in the field of mentoring.
Mentors: Mentors volunteer their time and are enthusiastic about meeting first-year students and sharing their experiences. Many mentors are recommended by faculty and staff members in their departments or by their peers. They tend to be third-year students or higher, in order to have experienced internships, study abroad, research, or other involvement that will benefit first-year mentees.
Learn how to Apply to be a mentor for next academic year.
Mentees: Mentees are first-year women students at the University of Iowa who are majoring in science, technology, engineering, or math. Upon acceptance to the university, incoming students who have chosen a major supported under WISE's structure will receive application information in the mail. Incoming students may also request information directly from WISE.
Learn how to Apply to be a mentee for next academic year.
Matching: From the pool of mentors and mentees, each first-year student is matched with an upper-level student on the basis of major/career interest and often-times personal interests as well. In some cases, the matching process results in pairs with similar, but not identical interests.
Teams of four: Each mentor/mentee pair is linked with another pair in a team. These small groups give the mentees a chance to meet other first-year students and provide support for the mentors.
Expectations: Participants are expected to contribute 1½ hours per month to the mentoring program
through one-on-one meetings with their mentors or in workshops/seminars. It's a very small commitment for a wonderful and beneficial experience!
Workshops/seminars: Each semester WISE plans 2+ evening events.
Each workshop is offered on two separate days to better accommodate students' busy schedules.
Seminars are offered one time only and typically include supper and
interactions with older students and UI staff. Topics are either academic-
or career-related and are designed to be beneficial to both mentors and
mentees. Sample topics include resume development; study skills; finding
study abroad, internship, job shadow, and volunteer opportunities; and
talking with a panel of professional women who describe their academic and
Small group meetings: Mentors and mentees are expected to meet at
least once per month during the school year, for typically 1-1 ½ hours.
In these meetings, mentors share their experiences with courses, introduce the mentees to interesting places on campus and in town, and answer mentees' questions. Often-times
mentors and mentees get together in small groups with other program
participants. The mentors' support provides encouragement to the first-year students as they meet the challenges of coursework and campus life.
Cost: The program is funded by donations from corporations, who in effect provide a $300 program 'scholarship' per participant. The mentors volunteer their time. The WISE program appreciates the mentors' expertise that benefits the first-year students. Mentors and mentees may receive up to two $25.00 book certificates each through participation. A $125.00 mentee participation fee defrays a portion of the administrative costs.
Outcomes: Previous participants say they gained both information and social support from their mentors. The mentees have learned about specific resources and strategies, but more importantly, they have had someone to talk to who has been through the same transitions and struggles and has experienced similar achievements as the first-year students. The mentors enjoy providing practical tips and intangible encouragement to promising first-year students.
"It has been a great experience that has branched out my understanding of resources and opportunities that are available to women in science programs here at the University of Iowa." - mentor
"It is a great way to learn skills that we are going to need for the rest of our lives!" - mentee