Featured Scholarship: University Studies Peer Mentor Program

The University Studies Peer Mentor Program allows upperclassmen to mentor newer students and be successful in their classes by helping teach a variety of college and academia skills. Peer mentors can be transformational in helping fellow students be successful and happy in their time at Portland State.

Undergraduate Peer Mentors receive the Oregon Laurels Scholarship, which covers in-state tuition (up to 12 credits) at the standard base rate. They also receive a monthly Educational Leadership award (similar to a stipend!).

Mentors work with a faculty member and hold sessions for their students outside of the regular University Studies class time. During these sessions, mentors cover material related to class content, and also provide instruction and practice opportunities related to writing, technology, and accessing campus resources. 

Emily is a Portland State University senior and current Peer Mentor. She mentors a section of the Freshman Inquiry - Portland course under the guidance of Dr. Michael Lupro. In addition to her work with University Studies, Emily has worked with Orientation Programs since her freshman year, and volunteers regularly at OHSU. Emily shared about her experiences as a Peer Mentor: 

Why did you apply for this role?

I had a really amazing peer mentor in one of my freshman courses and was inspired to help others. My mentor helped us understand material from the main class and made it so we could manage assignments and keep up with the class.

What do you like most about the role?

I was able to help students learn about managing the new challenges of remote school work. Students had never experienced online instruction and peer mentors helped them transition easily into spring term. Students could talk to us about challenges and together we could find solutions to help them navigate challenges and do their coursework. 

I am really passionate about working with students. For me, this is a great opportunity to try out a potential career and gain experience. This work transitions perfectly into what I want to do in graduate school. I would like to go on into the Postsecondary Adult and Continuing Education graduate (PACE) program.

My students are great! We have a lot of fun. It was nice to be that person who is reassuring that things will work out. I stay in contact with some students and continue to support their college journey by checking in from time to time. One of my former students asked me for a letter of reference and I felt so honored. I always wanted to help and this really showed how much the students trust me.

How has the scholarship impacted your college experience?

The scholarship has made my college experience more manageable. It is really helpful because there is no stress about paying for college. I don’t need an outside job on campus. This program pays for tuition and other stuff like textbooks, which means that I can focus on my schoolwork.

Peer mentors are one of the most important roles in our community. They do so much to help create a supportive and encouraging campus environment. You can read more about the position’s role and responsibilities.

Learn more about the requirements and application process. Applications are due January 15, 2021 for the next academic year. Apply to be a Peer Mentor!