The BEST program included a peer-mentoring system that puts an undergrad who’s already successfully navigated the curriculum right in the classroom, research lab, or living-learning community with beginning students. Research has shown that this is more effective than the traditional one-on-one mentoring approach. A modified model of this peer-mentoring is being led through the ASPIRE program. Students in BEST disciplines that would like to participate in peer-mentoring are encouraged to contact ASPIRE or talk with their professor about the options available to them.
Peer Course Assistants
Advanced undergraduate students, called called Peer Course Assistants (PCAs), sat in on basic-level STEM courses to provide assistance to everyone in the class. The PCA attended a class, took notes and knew exactly what’s being taught, facilitated group discussions, got to know the students, and then held three hours of study sessions outside of class each week. As a result, students had a known and trusted peer who can help them succeed—someone that they naturally felt a connection to. The faculty member teaching the class helped develop the structure of those study sessions.
Undergraduate Research BEST Peers
Because students new to college-level math and science are often reluctant to share their questions and problems with their professor, advanced students with a record of successful undergraduate research in the discipline served as an Undergraduate Research BEST Peer to help beginning researchers understand and succeed at research. These mentors helped the student understand the research process as it moves along, the proper way to keep a research journal, and effective ways to communicate results to others. These peer mentors were a valuable way to bridge the gap between new students and faculty, and they helped the student into a healthy working relationship with the professor.
Some BEST Peers were also be part of the BEST Living/Learning Community, helping enhance the academically geared programming and holding study halls to create a supportive learning environment to residential life.
This program is no longer active, so no contact information is listed.