OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY
Welcome to the College of Forestry Graduate Undergraduate Mentorship Program website. This program is organized entirely by students in the CoF Graduate Student Council.

Purpose and Objectives

Purpose: The purpose of this program is to improve academic excellence by engaging and educating the next generation of scientists, managers, and world leaders in forestry. In addition, this program is designed to provide College of Forestry students with opportunities for outreach, community involvement, and mentoring skill development. The establishment and long-term adoption of this mentorship program will provide the necessary infrastructure for a student-led and -sustained effort which inspires, supports, and guides undergraduates with career aspirations related to forestry sciences.

 

Introduction: The Graduate Student Council in the College of Forestry at Oregon State University will initiate a mentorship program promoting interaction between graduate and undergraduate students. This program will develop and support professional relationships between students and will benefit both graduate mentors and undergraduate mentees. Direct benefits to undergraduate students will include exposure to current and ongoing research in the college, encouragement and inspiration to explore future opportunities in science, and an outlet for questions, answers and advice pertaining to important career influencing decisions. Developing these relationships will benefit future generations by providing early exposure to the challenges of science and academia while preparing them for success beyond their undergraduate education.  This program will also directly benefit graduate students by providing mentoring experiences critical to success as future teachers and advisors. Furthermore, it will increase outreach and service opportunities for graduate students by providing a network to become connected to the college and academic culture beyond their research programs. This program may also foster opportunities for undergraduate research internships and experience by connecting students with graduate research projects. Participation between underrepresented groups will be encouraged through collaboration with the SEEDS program and the International Forestry Students Association.

 

Justification:  In the COF, there are insufficient opportunities for undergraduate students to learn from graduate students in an informal environment. While professional career services have been developed, there are few established programs that engage students considering higher degrees and connect them with academic examples outside of their curriculum. In addition, there are limited teaching assistantships and opportunities for COF graduate students to obtain mentoring skills and experience. Finally, while the development of vertical (faculty, graduate, undergraduate) and horizontal (cross-departmental) relationships is a high priority within the college, few programs exist to develop these relationships, particularly among student populations. 

 

Broader Impacts: This program will provide a critical resource to improve academic excellence in both undergraduate and graduate programs.  Undergraduate students will receive peer-based encouragement to excel in academia as well as a novel opportunity to explore and plan for future degrees and careers in science. Graduate students will experientially develop mentorship skills and values which will prepare them to be the future leaders in teaching and advising.

The graduate-undergraduate mentorship program is also a key initial step in developing a bridge between undergraduate and graduate student populations, student cultures, and scientific disciplines, which is highly desirable for the future vision of a cohesive College of Forestry. Ultimately, the College will benefit from increased graduate student service, student-generated motivation for greater academic excellence, and an improved atmosphere generated by unity among professional peers.