History Doctoral Student Elizabeth O'Brien
"'Everyone needs a community in order to get into graduate school.' These wise words, spoken by a UT professor, summarize why the IE Pre Graduate School Mentorship is an excellent resource for undergraduate students who seek admission to graduate programs. In addition to experience conducting research, they also need one-on-one guidance through the process of writing an admissions essay, choosing potential programs, and contacting possible thesis advisors. Over the course of this semester, I assisted an undergraduate student in this process while providing feedback on her honor's thesis and writing sample. We also discussed scholarly trends in our discipline (history) and brainstormed potential dissertation topics for the future. We used our weekly meeting to discuss her progress on these assignments, and I provided written and verbal feedback for improvements. The mentee took a graduate seminar in the history department this semester, so we also discussed the culture(s) and professional expectations of graduate school. Because the undergraduate student aims to be a professor, I provided her with opportunities for peer review by asking her to edit several conference abstracts, as well as a successful grant proposal that I submitted. And in order to give her a jump-start on her teaching statement, I requested that she write a few paragraphs on what worked well during this internship and what she would change in one of her own design. The IE Pre Graduate School Mentorship gave me the opportunity to reflect on pedagogical and mentoring strategies, and it facilitated my mentee's transition from an undergraduate student to a scholar."