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Title: Making Meaning through Mentorship: A Student-Led Layered Peer Mentorship Program
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2023 ASEE Annual Conference
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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  1. This Complete Evidence-Based Paper presents research about a layered peer mentorship program for undergraduate engineering students at a public urban research university and ways that students have made meaning from their mentorship experiences. This mentorship program began in Fall 2019 and has grown to include the following layers: (a) first-year students who receive mentorship, (b) sophomore- and junior-level students who serve as mentors (all of whom received mentorship during their first year), (c) junior- and senior-level students who serve as lead mentors who design the program for that academic year (including content, group meetings, service projects, meeting schedules, etc.), (d) a graduate student who mentors and supervises the lead mentors, and (e) a faculty member who oversees the overall program, provides general guidance, and advises all the students. We will describe ways in which the participating students have made meaning of their experience in the program, highlighting three key areas: (1) the web of relationships formed, which cohere into a community; (2) students’ transitions from receiving mentorship as first-year students to mentoring others in their sophomore and junior years; and (3) the feedback and iteration process by which the program has continuously developed, which forefronts student voice and agency. The paper will provide specific examples in each of the three key areas described, with a special focus on students’ own descriptions of the meaning they have made through their participation in the mentorship program. Recommendations will also be shared for those interested in implementing similar programs on their campuses. 
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