Mentoring Program Connects Graduate and Undergraduate Students
Graduate and undergraduate students pose for a group picture at the first meeting of the JUMP mentoring program.
Related link: IDEA Student Center Opens
San Diego, Calif., Oct. 20, 2011 -- When two UC San Diego graduate students set out to create a new mentoring program at the Jacobs School of Engineering that pairs graduate students and undergraduates, they didn’t expect to be flooded with applications. They also didn’t expect the massive turn out at the program’s first meeting this month. But Margie Mathewson and Laura Connelly say they are now expecting the program to keep growing and building an even stronger sense of community at the Jacobs School.
The Jacobs Undergraduate Mentoring Program, or JUMP, brings together 10 graduate students and 60 undergraduates. They are divided into small groups of seven, comprised of one graduate student, two seniors and juniors and four freshmen and sophomores. The small groups are set to meet every other week. The large group will meet at least twice a quarter. Students also will be able to ask questions online through e-mentoring.
The program is a partnership between the IDEA Student Center and the Jacobs Graduate Student Council.
It was born out of Mathewson and Connelly’s undergraduate college experience. As a woman engineer at the University of Illinois, Mathewson received a good deal of support and mentoring. That, in turn, motivated her to apply to graduate school and become a bioengineer. Mathewson said she hopes to replicate the successful program that supported her in Illinois.
“As a graduate student, it allows us to help and give back to UCSD beyond the lab,” said Connelly. “It makes it more meaningful.”
“We want people to keep coming back,” Mathewson said. “We really intend this to be a place where you’re not only learning, but you’re also networking without realizing you’re networking.”
The ultimate goal is to build a sense of community among students, said Gennie Miranda, assistant director and retention coordinator at the IDEA Student Center. First generation college-going students and under-represented students are particularly encouraged to take part, she said.
JUMP is supported by L3-Communications. The company also helped establish the program’s structure. “We can see this program growing by leaps and bounds,” Miranda said. “But we want to make sure it’s built on a solid foundation.”