Peer Mentor Program

The Peer Mentor Program is designed to set each incoming PhD and MS student up with a more experienced student. Thanks to a generous grant from the UCSD Graduate Division, the program has been expanded and extended. The program has four main goals:

  • To increase student retention: The Peer Mentor Program was first conceived as an initiative to increase the passing rate of the first year departmental exams, but a persistent mentor-mentee relationship will be beneficial to both parties throughout their careers here. Fostering more student connections is a positive end in and of itself.
  • To reinforce the student safety net: The peer mentor can serve as another point of interaction for graduate students who have social networks of widely varying sizes and strengths. This can help ensure that no student “falls through the cracks.”
  • To create a network of engaged students: A formalized peer mentorship program can help keep students engaged and connected to Scripps and to the University.  This helps our first-year students build a connection to the Department and creates a strong network of student leaders in our mentors.
  • To developing mentoring skills: Training our mentors and giving them practical experience is useful not only for their personal growth and development as future principal investigators and research leaders but also fosters a culture of mentorship throughout the Department.

Program format

First-year mentees will be matched with mentors prior to the beginning of the fall quarter and should expect to hear from them before arriving at Scripps unless they are starting very early. In addition to informal meetings, mentors and their mentees will be invited to social events and special seminars during the academic year. After the end of the spring quarter and the departmental exams, mentors and mentees will have the opportunity to reflect on their experiences and contribute to the mentee's Individual Development Plan. Mentors will need to attend an initial training session during the summer as well as a supplemental training once per quarter. Mentors will be able to draw from a small fund for incidental expenses (e.g. coffee, lunch) to facilitate meetings with their mentees.

Leadership Committee

The Peer Mentor Leadership Committee for the 2018-19 academic year is:

  • Meredith Fish, 4th year in Climate Sciences
  • Camille Pagniello, 4th year in Applied Ocean Sciences
  • Ashlyn Giddings, 4th year in Biological Oceanography
  • Benni Birner, 4th year in Climate Sciences
  • Sarah Maher, 4th year in Geosciences
  • Maya Becker, 4th year in Geophysics
  • Sarah Schwenck, 4th year in Marine Biology

The leadership committee can be reached at