The STEM Program is designed to promote student success through increased acceptance rates into undergraduate students' intended majors and increased college graduation rates of students. The STEM Program provides free one-on-one tutoring for many lower-level courses (1000 and 2000 levels) and select upper-level courses (3000 and 4000 levels). In addition to tutoring, the STEM Program provides undergraduate students academic support through peer mentoring, counseling referrals, multicultural activities, educational seminars, career and graduate school planning, and other resources to enhance their education and college experience, as well as to enable them to achieve a post-secondary degree.
The STEM Program strives to ensure that all students are given the full opportunity to discover and develop their talents, interests, and unique potential, and to provide a learning-centered and student-centered environment that presents the context for intellectual, cultural, professional, and personal growth during the college experience. Each student will learn to become an independent, confident learner and develop good study habits and time management skills.
For more information on how to sign up and participate in the STEM Program and to review the list of eligibility requirements, please click here.
The STEM Program is funded by the State of Michigan Workforce Development Agency (formerly Department of Energy, Labor, and Economic Growth) King-Chavez-Parks Initiative and the Division of Multicultural Affairs.
Created by Katrina Snyder, Peer Mentor Training and Advising (TAC) Member, 2011-12; Revised by Welby Seely, Peer Mentor Training and Advising (TAC) Co-Chair, 2010-present
Qualities of a Peer Mentor
Mentoring needs to be more than “just another job” in order for it to be successful. Certain qualities are needed to help and successfully communicate with students: proactivity, flexibility, enthusiasm, leadership, and professionalism. These are values required of a STEM employee.
Being More than Just a Tutor
Signing up for a peer mentor does not guarantee that a student will pass a class. As a mentor, the focus is not on teaching course material, but on fostering good study habits and learning techniques. The goal is to prepare students not only for their assigned classes, but for current and future challenges. By developing life skills, students become ready to be successful for their college careers and beyond.
Students often do not seek out help when they need it. A good mentor must be proactive. If a student is slow to respond, send reminders; following up with phone calls demonstrates commitment and sincerity. Coming prepared to meetings and adjusting them to meet students’ needs, meeting in places conducive to study, and keeping track of and managing events in a calendar are all examples of proactivity.
In order to accommodate and serve as many students as is possible, a mentor must be flexible both in schedule and in mind. Some students can only meet once or twice a week. Being able to reasonably accommodate a variety of students with different schedules and learning styles is necessary. Moreover, a mentor needs to recognize that students have different needs – some study techniques may work better for some than others. Flexibility is critical to effective mentoring.
Part of the job of a peer mentor is to help students become enthusiastic about school and learning, and to help to develop a positive attitude toward challenges. Enthusiasm is infectious: a mentor must show enjoyment and a positive attitude while mentoring. That enthusiasm is likely to spread to the student.
Leading by Example
A mentor should have goals for the student, but no solid expectations. Some STEM participants are only a short step away from high school and may not be completely ready to begin living on their own. Expecting a student to have an instantaneous transformation from the maturity of a high school student to that of a college student is unrealistic. It is up to the mentor to set the example and demonstrate how to be a successful college student.
Being a STEM peer mentor is more than just helping out students: a mentor’s professional cultivation is also important. A STEM peer mentor must be able to communicate politely and respectfully with the STEM Director and other STEM employees, maintain accurate STEM documentation, and attend several STEM meetings every semester. STEM provides mentors with valuable experience working and behaving professionally, at times simulating real-life environments, in order to prepare them for their work environments after college.
Please report any suspected or alleged instances of wrongdoing or misconduct or concerns about inappropriate service provisions and practices by any peer mentor to the STEM Director at (269) 387-3316 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. In case of a medical emergency or an immediate threat to your personal safety, please call 911 or the WMU Police at (269) 387-5555.
Western Michigan University prohibits discrimination or harassment which violates the law or which constitutes inappropriate or unprofessional limitation of employment, University facility access, or participation in University activities, on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, protected disability, veteran status, height, weight, or marital status.