The Peer Mentoring Program was initiated in the Fall of 2012 by the then instructor of the First Year Experience course, Dr. Glenda Gillaspy. The first Biochemistry undergraduate students to serve as Peer Mentors have graduated from Virginia Tech. Many have earned advanced degrees and are pursuing a variety of careers including a Ph.D. scientist working on the epigenome of plants, a Ph.D. scientist working on metabolic engineering of microbes, a PharmD scientist working at Innova Health Systems, a Project Manager at Tecan Labwerx, a Ph.D. scientist working on Protein Engineering at Cellibre, an MD pursuing a medical residency at Tufts, an MD pursuing a residency in Surgery at the University of Maryland, and a DMD with a practice in Minneapolis.
The primary role of the Biochemistry Peer Mentors is to engage our first year students in our BCHM 1014: First Year Experience in Biochemistry course. In this course, Peer Mentors interact with first year and transfer students, and help to provide support, direction, and guidance as well as demonstrate the maturity of judgment, objectivity, integrity, and academic honesty. Peer Mentors assist in the development of skills necessary for mentees to succeed in college and motivate first year students to achieve academic excellence in one of the toughest majors at Virginia Tech.
Peer Mentors in Action (Photos taken during the Spring 2020 semester)
In addition to their role in the First Year Experience course, Peer Mentors are actively involved in student success initiatives and serve in department- and college-level events throughout the academic year. Biochemistry's Peer Tutoring program is staffed by our Peer Mentors, who offer individual and small-group tutoring to Biochemistry undergraduates for our required in-major courses during the Fall and Spring semesters. Peer Mentors regularly participate in Fall Open House, Hokie Preview, and Hokie Focus, where they are available to answer questions from prospective undergraduates and their families about the Biochemistry undergraduate program and other aspects of campus life.