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Peer Mentoring Skills Perceptions from Orion (science) LLC Program

Poster 14

5/21/24, 9:30 PM

Mentorship in undergraduate STEM experiences are supposed to be helpful but need more evidence. We assessed self-perceptions of peer mentorship skills from our program students.

Temperance Rowell

Virginia Tech

Catherine James

Virginia Tech


Peer Mentoring, STEM, Living-Learning Community

Mentorship in undergraduate STEM experiences have been touted to help retention and student success but evidence is still needed. Our peer mentors take courses focused on developing their peer mentor skills concurrent with participating in the peer mentor program. Therefore, we sought to evaluate our peer mentor program through the adaptation of a Mentoring Competency Assessment and reflective questions from our peer mentors three times throughout the academic year. We found that there were small increases in many of these mentoring skills from the beginning to the end of the academic year, though it varied between students.

Hear it from the author:

Peer Mentoring Skills Perceptions from Orion (science) LLC Program


Hi! We are excited to be sharing with you today the findings from our assessment on the Peer Mentoring Skills Perceptions from the Orion (science) Living-Learning Community or LLC.

The Orion LLC is an interdisciplinary science living-learning program for undergraduate students at Virginia Tech. While it is intergenerational, a majority are first year students living on campus and taking college courses for the first time. As part of our holistic academic support system,
these first year students are grouped and paired with second year students in the community, known as peer mentors. Peer mentors serve a critical role to provide first year students with support from peers who have been to college, lived in our community, and are eager to learn more about evidence-based practices of STEM mentorship through their complementary course
series called “Leadership in Science”.

In this assessment, we sought to understand the peer mentor experience in our program. We adapted a previously published mentoring inventory and had peer mentors self-asses 20 skills at the beginning, middle, and end of the academic year in addition to a few open-ended questions to better capture themes and understand experiences in and out of the classroom.
Overall, our peer mentoring program appears to contribute to gains in several of these important skills that may be impacted by individual student experiences and overestimation of skills at the beginning. While more analyses are needed, the qualitative data show initial themes that most
peer mentors have skills-based growth and positive mentoring experiences.

So, H. H., Jenna, G. R., Stephanie, C. H., Christine, A. S., & Christine, P. (2022). Revalidation of the mentoring competency assessment to evaluate skills of research mentors: the mca-21, 6.

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (U.S.). Committee on Strengthening Research Experiences for Undergraduate STEM Students. (2017). Undergraduate research experiences for stem students : successes, challenges, and opportunities. (J. Gentile, K. A. Brenner, & A. Stephens, Eds.). National Academies Press. Retrieved September 30, 2023.

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