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

Selection of the Fall 2023 mentors will begin after Thanksgiving Break (2022). To learn more about the I-PERSIST program, as well as other student leadership opportunities in Student Success, please plan to attend the information session. Wednesday, November 30, 2022, at 4:00pm, Rensselaer Union: Ellsworth Room. You may also contact the Office of First Year Experience to express interest in working with the program. 

  • 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. 

Applications for Fall 2023 are currently available online

Step 1:

New applicants are strongly encouraged to attend an information session. Information sessions will be held on the following dates:

  • Wednesday, November 30 @ 4pm, Rensselaer Union: Ellsworth Room
  • Wednesday, January 11, 2023 @ 4pm, Location TBA

The priority deadline is Sunday, January 22, 2023 at 11:59pm. If you are interested in applying after the priority 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. If you are interested in taking a quiz after the January 30 priority deadline, please contact the Office of First Year Experience at FYE@rpi.edu. 
  • Review sheets are not provided for the quizzes.

Step 3:

Selected applicants will interview with Student Life staff in mid-February, if selected, the second interview will be held by subject-specific faculty in late February/early March.

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

  • Friday, April 28, 2023: in-person mentor orientation
  • Week of June 6, 2022: remote training session
  • Week of June 13, 2022: remote training session
  • Week of June 27, 2022: remote training session
  • Week of July 11, 2022: remote training session
  • August 26/27 – August 27/28: 2 days of in-person training; we will arrange for mentors to return to campus early.

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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