University of Vermont

New Mentoring Program in Rubenstein School Pairs Grads with Undergrads

Rubenstein School Graduate Student Association Mentoring Program welcome dinner
Rubenstein School Graduate Student Association Mentoring Program welcome dinner

This fall, UVM's Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources (RSENR) is launching a new program, Rubenstein School Mentors (RSM). Undergraduate students will be paired (on the basis of academic and personal interests) with graduate student mentors, who will meet with them regularly throughout the semester to discuss a variety of issues.

This program will complement existing academic advising and career services within RSENR and strengthen the school's community as a whole. The benefits are numerous: offering students another source of support in their mentors; providing grad mentors with experience working with undergraduates; and forging supportive ties between students, faculty, and grad students in RSENR.

In addition, the Mentors program offers a path for undergraduate students to learn about and potentially get involved with research at RSENR. Mentors can provide encouragement and direction to students seeking fresh challenges but also support and bolster those students who may be struggling. By sharing stories of their experiences in and after college, mentors can lend their perspective to some of the unique questions confronting today’s undergraduate students. All mentors will receive training in mentorship and will be connected with the wide variety of campus resources that may be helpful.

The RSM program was proposed last year by RSENR grad student Rebecca Pincus, and the Rubenstein School Graduate Association (RGSA) is overseeing its implementation, along with support from the Dean's Office as well as Student Career Services. In its first semester this fall, over 50 students will be participating in RSM!

The program was launched Wednesday, September 26 at a welcome dinner in Aiken, at which mentors and student partners met each other and learned about RSM.

"It was wonderful to have such a great turnout of graduate mentors representing Masters and PhD level students," said Marie Vea-Fagnant, Assistant Dean for Student Services & Staff Development. "When the undergraduate mentees arrived, every seat in the student lounge was filled and everyone was engaged in great conversation. It was really a beautiful sight and a demonstration of community building. We've envisioned a mentoring program for some time, so a special thanks goes to the Rubenstein Graduate Student Association for their support with extra kudos to Rebecca Pincus for her initiative and hard work!"

For more information, please contact the 2012-2013 RSM Chair of the Rubenstein School Graduate Association (RGSA), Rebecca Pincus at Rebecca.Pincus@uvm.edu