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March Monthly Highlight- AOS Mentorship Program

March 27, 2020

The AOS community at UW-Madison is a small one, and one of the biggest advantages of such a small program is increased interaction between our graduate and undergraduate students. Though the department has a long tradition of both formal and informal social events where students of all standings can form personal connections, there have not been many opportunities to build bridges between the larger AOS community outside of these events. This is especially true for freshmen and sophomore undergraduates; given that the major requires several background courses in other departments, most underclassmen will not know the majority of their classmates until their sophomore or junior year.

Several graduate students within the department have been working to amend these concerns. Their recently launched AOS mentorship program is looking to increase interaction between undergraduate and graduate students. Zoe Brooke Zibton has been heading the program along with the current AOS Mentorship Program (AMP) committee: Kate Abbot, Bailey Murphy, Alicia Hoffman, Kelton Halbert, Jerrold Acdan, and Patrick Beaty.

Undergraduates benefit from graduate student experience, helping them develop the tools and skills to succeed in both the undergraduate and post-undergraduate world. Graduate students, in turn, are able to build up their mentorship skills and provide undergrads with an experience they would have wanted in their undergraduate careers. Students are matched with their mentors based on interest, post-graduation plans, and a handful of other personal factors. In addition to one-on-one mentoring, consisting of a graduate student paired with an undergraduate, the program also supports group mentoring for social events and small group mentoring focused on specific topics.

This semester, the program has 8 graduate mentors and 11 one-on-one pairs, most of whom met for the first time right before spring break. AMP also is hosting two small groups this semester, one focused on 1st and 2nd year undergraduates within the department and the other geared more towards operational meteorology. Students may join the program at any point within the semester, but it is recommended that people join towards the beginning of the semester.

AMP also has put measures into place to assure that this program is able to outlast graduations. Undergraduates who partake in the one-on-one meetings can choose whether they want to continue with the same graduate student for the next semester or meet with someone else. The AMP website also has extra resources for undergraduates: a suggestion form for any improvements that could be implemented and a complaint form for if any problems arise.

We’re looking forward to seeing how the AOS Mentorship Program grows in the coming months and semesters.