Graduate school mentorship opens applications

Liesje Powers | Multimedia Editor

By Rewon Shimray | Staff Writer

The Graduate Undergraduate Mentorship Program (GUMP) is now accepting applicants.

The online application is available until Sept. 16 for any undergraduate students seeking graduate school advising from a one-on-one mentoring relationship with a graduate student. Applicants are accepted on a first-come first-serve basis. Elizabeth Lund, a political science Ph.D student and the service committee chair for the Graduate Student Association, said juniors and seniors are GUMP’s primary focus group.

Lund said juniors receive insight on internships, research opportunities and conferences to build their resume, while seniors are guided through the graduate school application process.

There are currently 78 graduate students signed up, an increase from the 35 who served last year. Last year, there were not enough mentors for the 68 undergraduate students who applied, and undergraduates had to be declined as a result. Lund said she is excited to see the program continue to grow since its start in 2014.

This year, GUMP is partnering with the McNair Scholars Program, which helps low-income first generation students. There are 25 McNair scholars in GUMP this year.

Lund said the program has a flexible time commitment with meeting frequency dependent on each pair, but a meeting is required at least once a semester. Throughout the year, GUMP will host coffee meet-ups at Common Grounds to help facilitate the mentor-mentee relationships.

“For graduate students, we have this wealth of information about schools, that it’s good to put it to use. At the same time, it gives us a little bit of a break from our research and give us a chance to give back as well,” Lund said.

Mentors and mentees first meet each other at the GUMP kick-off dinner on Sept. 20. The tables are organized by department “to see who would align based on research interests and career goals,” Lund said.

At the end of the dinner, everyone fills out a handout to write in who they would like to be partnered with. At this time, graduate students also have the opportunity to choose whether they would like to mentor one or two undergraduates.

Lund said the relationships formed through GUMP are often very significant, and she has received multiple emails from students wanting to continue with the mentor they had in the previous year.

Birmingham, Ala., junior Caitlin Bullard joined GUMP last year and continues to meet with her mentor, Sindhu Shivaji. Both Bullard and Shivaji are interested in clinical psychology.

“To have her tell me about her experience and all the processes she’s gone through is really eye-opening,” Bullard said. “I would recommend [GUMP] to anyone who is interested in going to grad school, because it’s really helpful to have someone that’s recently gone through it to help you through the experience.”