"I have seen the benefits of WiSE in multiple ways. Most importantly, WiSE was able to show me examples of successful women when I was a freshman. Being a mentee in WiSE gave me the opportunity to talk to a mentor who had survived the same classes I was taking and whose life seemed well balanced with academics, organizational and social activities. It was nice to know that people really did make it past freshman year.
Secondly, I have benefited from being a mentor. Through this program I have been able to connect to three bright young women whose freshman years I was able to make a little easier as my mentor did for me. It was especially nice to be able to mentor other pharmacy students because we have a common goal and I was able to share why I've made the choices I have made. WiSE makes seeing the light at the end of the tunnel a little easier."
- Melissa, mentor, UI College of Pharmacy
What is WiSE Peer Mentoring?
Peer mentoring is a one-on-one relationship between a first-year student and an upper-level student in the same/similar field. The mentors often help their first-year mentees choose classes, prepare for finals, locate an apartment, and find their way around Iowa City. The peer mentoring program is a fun and rewarding way for first-year students to make friends, get connected to resources, and become a part of the university and community.
In addition to one-on-one communication, mentors and mentees participate in several small-group meetings and scheduled workshops throughout the year that range in topic from learning about mindfulness to learning about the process of applying to nursing, medical, pharmacy, or graduate school, to finding research, internship, and study abroad opportunities. It is an opportunity for first-year students at the University of Iowa to learn from someone who has "been there, done that" – what better way to make the most of your college experience than by getting the inside line?!
How does it work?
WiSE matches first-year women in STEM majors one-on-one with upper-level undergraduate women in similar majors/career paths.
On average, 200 undergraduate women per year participate in the mentoring program. One-on-one communication between mentors and mentees is essential, but we work hard to give all women a chance to interact, learn from each other, and form connections. Some past events include: board game night, decorating cookies, painting pumpkins around Halloween, and attending a Iowa Women's Basketball game.
Are you interested in joining WiSE Mentoring?! Click the "Become a Mentee" tab for more information.
Seventy-one percent of first-year women who entered this program in Fall 1999 completed science or engineering degrees in May of 2003, a percentage that significantly exceeds the national trend of 30-46 percent completion rates.
Two-thirds (66%) of the mentors in 2014-2015 were previously mentees - now that shows commitment! Additionally, 53% of the mentors have volunteered as a WiSE mentor either one or two years previously!
“During my undergraduate years at Iowa, the WiSE program provided me with support that I couldn't have received anywhere else in the University environment. I successfully completed my BS and became the first individual in my family headed for graduate school. I had no idea what I needed to do to make myself a competitive applicant! Through WiSE events and workshops; the guidance of my peer mentor; and question and answer sessions with graduate students, I learned how to not only become a stronger student but also how to maintain an active life outside of the school. Most importantly, this program was encouraging, not competitive or intimidating, which is crucial to the success of young women scientists and is difficult to find in other school-wide programs.”
--Former WiSE Mentee and Peer Mentor