Psychology department debuts new mentoring program


Courtesy / GVSU

Clémence Daniere, Staff Writer

On Oct. 14 2021, the Grand Valley State University psychology department launched a new program called Psych Friends. The aim of this peer-to-peer mentorship program is to help students who are studying psychology and behavioral neuroscience at the undergraduate level. 

After noticing a higher-than-before demand for help within the psychology department, the Psychology Retention Committee sent out a survey to many applicable students. They were then able to gauge how much help current students truly needed in addition to what specific areas they were struggling in the most. The psychology department hopes that this program will help students enhance their academic success through amplified time management skills and overall study skills.

As of right now, 11 mentors are volunteering their time to help students who seek them out. All mentors are GVSU students at either a junior or senior standing and will provide 20 hours per week on average of their time to the program and their fellow peers. This means that around 20 students will be able to get mentorship per week through this program. 

Although fairly new, the members of the program are hopeful that this opportunity will not only provide students with academic skills, but also build a tight-knit community within the psychology department for years to come.

“The overall goal is to build community within the psychology department,” said Allison Cox, a School of Psychology graduate student involved in the formation of the program. 

She goes on to explain that students have explained hardships they have faced during the height of the COVID-19 outbreak and how that has negatively affected the social aspect of their schooling. This program aims to counteract this and provide students with a higher sense of well-being. 

In order to help form this newfound community, the retention committee as well as a board of dedicated faculty members have planned engaging activities for the students. As of now, these include a Family Feud style game night and a pizza party during which students can interact with faculty and peers on a deeper level. This will benefit the students by forming interpersonal relationships with their professors that are based on more than just academic responsibilities. 

Cox, who helped create this program through the graduate assistant position noticed students asking for help in the psychology department and remembered how she herself was able to overcome struggles with a mentorship program. This was the start of what is now Psych Friends.

“The retention committee and I started brainstorming ideas for a new program and kind of built it from the ground up,” Cox said.

Her experience in the field and passion for the subject were two traits that ignited the start of this program. 

Students who are interested in this program will be able to refine their skills during their undergraduate experience as well as get help applying for graduate programs. Furthermore, mentors are hoping to help students figure out their path in life beyond graduate school and in a more career-focused way. 

In order to join the mentorship program as a mentee, students must log onto their navigate portal and select the mentorship program. This process is similar to the sign-up for tutoring lessons at GVSU. 

Available time slots have officially been released Oct. 14 and will be available until full. This mentorship program is offered in-person in the Au Sable Hall psychology tutoring room as well as online if needed. 

For more information visit @gvsu.psychfriends on Instagram and @gvsupsychfriends on Facebook.