I-PERSIST - Mentoring in Chemistry and Physics

Logo for the I-PERSIST mentoring program

The I-PERSIST (Integrative - Program for Education, Research, and Support Involving Science and Technology) Mentor program is an initiative of the School of Science and the Division of Student Life. As part of the program, many first-year students who are registered for Chemistry I or Physics I during the fall semester of their first year at RPI are assigned into small groups, which meet weekly throughout the semester. These sessions are run by an undergraduate student mentor and focus on skill-building and subject-specific academic support. Mentors have demonstrated mastery of academic content and undergo special training to provide support in transitioning to college and academic life at Rensselaer.

For more information, contact the Office of First Year Experience


Become an I-PERSIST Mentor

The application for Fall 2023 positions is currently closed. Information for Fall 2024 will be available online near the end of the fall semester. 


  • Mentors will conduct two mentoring sessions per week (approximately 8-10 students per session)
  • Mentors will attend one weekly supervisory meeting with subject faculty and Student Success staff
  • Mentors are required to hold two study hours per week to provide extra help to mentees
  • Mentors must prepare for their weekly sessions; on average, 8 - 10 hours of work total per week

In order to be considered, all candidates must:

  • Be in good judicial and academic standing at Rensselaer
  • Demonstrate strong academic performance in the subjects that you are applying to mentor
  • Must be enrolled as a full-time, undergraduate student

Please note: Although candidates may apply to mentor multiple subjects, they will only be selected to mentor one subject.

Mentors will earn two academic credits in the subject area for which they mentor. 

All positions for fall 2023 are currently filled. We will begin our recruitment process again at the end of the fall semester. The below information will be updated once the application is available again. You may refer to it for an idea of what to expect during the selection process.

Step 1:

Complete an online application prior to Sunday, April 16, 2023 at 11:59pm. If you are interested in applying after the deadline, please contact the Office of First Year Experience at FYE@rpi.edu. 

Step 2:

All applicants who apply to be a Chemistry mentor will be required to take a subject-specific quiz. At the end of the process, you will be selected to mentor only one subject.

  •  Applicants who apply to be a Physics mentor do not take a Physics quiz.
  • Only first-time applicants are required to take a quiz. The chemistry quiz is offered in IPAC (under the arch in Quad) Sunday - Thursday 6:00pm - 8:30pm. When you arrive, please let a mentor know you are there for the quiz. 
  • Please contact woodww@rpi.edu if you are interested in receiving review sheets for the quiz.

Step 3:

Selected applicants be contacted to interview with Student Life staff and subject-specific faculty in mid-February. 

If selected, all mentors will be required to complete training. Training will consist of remote and in-person sessions. Below are our 2023 training dates (these dates are subject to change):

  • Friday, April 28, 2023: in-person mentor orientation
  • Week of July 10, 2023: remote training session for new mentors
  • August 25, 2023: Return to campus to be ready for in-person training (we will arrange for mentors to return to campus early)
  • August 26/27, 2023 : 2 days of in-person training

We strongly encourage mentors to plan ahead to avoid conflicts on training days. Training is required to be completed in its entirety prior to the beginning of the fall semester. Mentors will not be exempted from August I-PERSIST training for any Navigating Rensselaer and Beyond (NRB) activities.

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