The WE@RIT Mentoring Program aims to build community and increase the confidence of new students as they transition into the Kate Gleason College of Engineering.
The WE@RIT Mentoring Program was born out of student focus groups and community surveys designed to identify and respond to the needs of our current students. The program, which pairs an upper class engineering student mentor with a small group of incoming first-year student mentees, aims to build community and increase the confidence of our new students as they transition into the Kate Gleason College of Engineering (KGCOE).
Specifically designed with input from KGCOE students, the program offers a structured framework with plenty of group flexibility so that each participant can glean from the program exactly what they need to. WE@RIT offers a monthly program for all participants, while monthly small group meet-ups provide an intimate setting to discuss topics timely to new students transitioning to study engineering at the collegiate level. Individual mentor groups are invited to put their own spin on each month’s meet-ups and mentors are encouraged to respond to their group’s needs by doing so.
Invitations for incoming students to participate in the WE@RIT Mentoring Program are delivered to incoming students via RIT student email in early August and contain a program interest survey for interested students to complete. The program runs from late August through late November. There is no cost or obligation to participate in the WE@RIT Mentoring Program.
Mentor Group Match-Up & Ice Cream Social
WE@RIT Kickoff Dinner
Workshop: Overcoming Imposter Syndrome
Small Group Topic: Forming Positive Engineering Study Habits
Activity: Breakfast with Engineering Faculty
Small Group Topic: Imposter Syndrome
Speaker: Leveraging Women’s Leadership in STEM
Small Group: Stress Management as an Engineering Student
Students who participate in mentoring programs have higher rates of retention in their intended majors; are instantly connected to other students and resources, both academic and social in ways that pertain to their major; and report stronger feelings of community belonging.
The program is being set up with great flexibility within a structured framework, so it can be the best of both worlds for those who opt in. Students opting in will be assigned, following a match-up process, to a small group (our aim is 3-4 incoming students per group, but these numbers could be smaller or larger based on demand), paired with one upper class woman-identifying or non-binary engineering student mentor. Each individual mentor group will meet in small groups at least once per month for ~1-2 hours based on the group members’ availability. Each month these small group meet-ups will include timely topics for discussion, as well as the opportunity to do things together that your particular group finds interesting. Additionally, all group members should attend one WE@RIT event each month (they vary monthly), including some mentor program inspired workshops sponsored by WE@RIT. The following are examples of WE@RIT sponsored events we especially hope for mentor groups to attend:
September: WE@RIT Kickoff Dinner; Imposter Syndrome Workshop; October: Breakfast with Engineering Faculty November: Women’s Leadership in STEM Presentation; Mentor Program Wrap-Up Dinner
Because we fully understand that life happens, each mentee will be granted three “free” absences for the semester. We do ask that those signing up with interest please do so with the good faith intention to commit to the program as best they can for their first semester, in fairness to the program mentors, other interested program participants, and to WE@RIT. The program will run August through November.
It is a semi-democratic process where all mentors and all interested incoming students have a say in their group placement. All interested incoming students will fill out the interest survey, which includes both demographic as well as background questions that will assist WE@RIT and the Mentors in helping to match you to a group. The Mentors will receive these answers ahead of Mentor Group Match-Up. Then, on Saturday, August 27th from 2-5 p.m., incoming students and mentors will meet up in Xerox Auditorium in James Gleason Hall, where incoming students will have the opportunity to meet and interview the mentors within small groups. Mentees will be able to indicate their preferred mentors as the outcome of a guided and rotational mentor/mentee interview process. After the work of getting to know one another is complete, we’ll all enjoy an ice cream social! For those who are unavailable on August 27th from 2-5 p.m., we will use the survey information to best match you to a group, which we will follow up with you about later that week.
Yes! The survey concludes with an opportunity for you to let us know about any concerns or special needs you might have as they pertain to your participation in the mentoring program and placement in a mentor group.
Of course. All those participating will receive a program t-shirt and goodie bag at the Mentor Match-Up on August 27th. (Can’t make it on August 27th? You’ll be able to pick up your goodies after the fact.) Participants will also be privy to AMAZING program opportunities, some with meals, and all with a focus on making your engineering student experience the best that it can possibly be: community, camaraderie, support, resources, encouragement, engagement and the list goes on!