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, 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

Mentors for Fall 2024 have been selected, and the application is no longer available. 

You do not have to be a Chemistry or Physics major to be a mentor. Mentors come from all majors who have done well in the subjects and enjoy sharing their knowledge with others.

  • 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 subject(s) for which you are applying to mentor
  • Must be enrolled as a full-time, undergraduate student

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

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

The application for Fall 2024 mentor positions is currently available. The application link is above in the "Become an I-PERSIST Mentor" section.

Step 1:

Complete an online application prior to Sunday, January 21, 2024 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 first-time Chemistry mentor 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.
  • Physics mentor applicants do not take a Physics quiz.

Step 3:

Selected applicants be contacted to interview with Student Life staff and subject-specific faculty in mid-February. Applicants will be asked to work through a subject-specific problem as part of the faculty interview process.

All selected mentors are required to complete training. Training consists of remote and in-person sessions. Below is an overview of approximately when training for 2024 will occur. (More specific training dates will be posted when determined.):

  • During an April 2024 Reading Day: In-person mentor orientation for all mentors
  • Late June/Early July: Remote training session for new mentors
  • August 24, 2024: Return to campus to be ready for in-person training. (Arrangements for early move-in for residence halls are coordinated by FYE.)
  • August 25/26, 2024 : 2 days of in-person training. This includes subject-specific disucssions.

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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