Psychology Undergraduate Mentoring Program
“We hope that this mentoring program will provide students with a close personal contact with someone who can provide personal advice about their journey in the field, potential career paths, and more.”
- Tabitha Kirkland, PhD – Associate Teaching Professor and Mentoring Program Director
Established in 2020, during the especially isolating time of the global pandemic, the Psychology Undergraduate Mentoring Program aims to increase community and belonging for UW Psychology undergraduates who are members of underrepresented groups and/or for transfer students to the University of Washington. This program matches faculty, current or former graduate students, and advanced undergraduates with undergraduate psychology majors or prospective majors.
Student program assistants are involved in recruitment, data collection, and matchmaking for mentors and mentees. This includes matching based on career and specialty interest areas, as well as social identities. Program assistants also support the program to plan and host events. “I think this program is a crucial step in moving towards a more diverse, equitable, and community-oriented psychology department,” observes psychology senior and program assistant, Mimi To. She continues, “As the field of psychology is heavily dominated by Eurocentric theories and practice, it is important that students with marginalized identities have a support system to ensure their success within the program.”
The program aims to provide connection and mentorship for students who identify with an underrepresented group, such as being a member of a racial minority group, first-generation college student, LGBTQ+ people, and transfer students, who may be more uncertain of their place in the UW community. Current undergraduate students can participate as both mentors and mentees.
Biweekly meetings between mentors and mentees can be online or in person. A variety of optional social and informational events are offered over the course of the year. "By being a mentee in the Psychology Mentoring Program, I can connect with students that looked like me and had other interests in psychology,” says UW sophomore Jessica Monroy. She adds that “having a connection with my mentor made me more open to looking for other opportunities within psychology – my mentor made me feel that the work I was doing was great for the long run of my career."
Psychology is among the top departments in undergraduate teaching at the UW and the leading department offering faculty-supervised undergraduate research. Our undergraduates benefit immensely from scholarship support, which allows them to focus on their studies and participate in research opportunities. Consider making a gift to the Friends of Psychology Fund to enhance the undergraduate academic experience in the Department of Psychology.