The Catalyst program is designed to help first-year graduate students from underserved populations succeed in the chemistry graduate program at UW-Madison.
About the program
Established in 2016, the Catalyst program supports participating students during their first year of graduate school. Targeted toward (but not limited to) under-represented minority, low-income, and/or first-generation graduate students, the program consists of a peer-mentoring scaffold and a professional development seminar series that helps to create a sense of belonging and connection between participating first-year students and their peers, department, campus, and the Madison community. Before arriving on campus, each Catalyst participant is paired with a current graduate student who will help them become acclimated to graduate school. Participants also will have the opportunity to attend monthly seminars that build professional skills that are relevant to their success in graduate school. These seminars address topics such as establishing a productive work/life balance, cultivating a positive scientific mindset, and fostering an inclusive environment.
Benefits of participation
Students invited to participate in Catalyst will have access to:
A peer mentor
- Peer mentors are carefully selected current graduate students
- Mentors complete a one-day mentor training
- Mentors agree to contact their mentee before they arrive on campus, to meet face-to-face at least twice a semester, and to attend at least two monthly meetings per semester
Monthly networking meetings
- Consists of professional and social components including team building exercises, career seminars, panels, group discussions, and healthy-living activities
- Unconventional seminar focused on community-building
- Past Catalyst participants will have the opportunity to lead the program for the following year as a Board member and/or peer mentor