Burnett, John; DeMora, Stephanie; Landgrave, Michelangelo; Lindke, Christian; Ninci, Adriana

How Can We Address Professional Isolation Among Traditionally Underrepresented Students? The Importance of Peer Mentorship

Abstract: Professional isolation is a perennial problem among academics, but it is especially common among traditionally underrepresented students who lack the social networks that could provide them support. One way to forge stronger social networks among traditionally underrepresented students is through peer mentorship. Underrepresented graduate students often serve as mentors to underrepresented undergraduate students. Senior underrepresented graduate students in turn provide mentorship to their more junior counterparts. The forms of peer mentorship provided are invaluable because they have experience overcoming many of the same challenges as their less experienced counterparts. In this reflection essay we, a group of graduate students from traditionally underrepresented communities, draw on our lived experiences to discuss how professional isolation among underrepresented students can be overcome by participating in peer mentorship programs.