Merit Mentoring & Professional Network

Be a part of our Merit Mentoring & Professional Network!

The Merit Mentoring & Professional Network (MPN) is an elective course offered to Merit program freshman and sophomore students who are in biological sciences, chemical sciences, mathematics, and undeclared majors, with a focus on mentoring and professional development. This is a low time commitment course which will allow you to make connections with upperclassmen and graduate students, and also has the potential to lead to a research experience in your field. The Merit MPN project began in Fall of 2022 and is continuing into its second year this fall.

What & When:

Fall 2023 Semester: LAS 199 MPN, CRN 63442, a 1 credit hour 8 week class offered in the second half of the Fall 2023 semester from 3-4:20 pm on Mondays in 2020 Natural History Building (starting on October 16)

Spring 2024 Semester: LAS 199 MPN, CRN 35362, a 1 credit hour class meeting every other week starting in week 2 of the Spring 2024 semester from 3-4:20 pm on Mondays in 2020 Natural History Building. Spots will be reserved for students currently participating in the fall semester course until December 1, 2023, at which time the course will be opened to any interested students from target majors.

Who it’s for: First and second year students invited to the Merit Program who are in the following majors or who are undeclared but may be considering one of these majors.

  • biological sciences majors (integrative biology, molecular and cellular biology, biology teaching)
  • chemical sciences majors (chemistry, chemistry teaching, computer science & chemistry, chemical & biomolecular engineering)
  • mathematical science majors (mathematics, mathematics teaching, mathematics & computer science, actuarial science)
  • undeclared students interested in one of the above majors
  • other majors with approval

What to expect:

  • Meet and form connections with other highly motivated students in your major, including upper level undergraduate and graduate student mentors.
  • Gain professional skills for use inside and outside the classroom.
  • Hear from professionals in your field, including in both academia and industry.
  • Connect with paid professional development experiences on campus, including undergraduate research.

Highlights from Merit MPN from the 2022-2023 School Year:


  • 94 total participating undergraduate students (39 biological sciences, 16 chemical sciences, 9 mathematics, 30 undeclared)
  • 36 total participating mentors (33 graduate students and 3 undergraduate students)
  • 20 students paired with paid undergraduate research and related experiences (5 in chemistry, 11 in biology, and 4 in mathematics)


  • Mentor/mentee conversation time
  • Research professor panels
  • Alumni career panels
  • Mental health workshop
  • Interview practice
  • Women’s Resource Center guest presentation
  • Campus laboratory tours
  • Therapy dog visits
  • Reading Day lunch

Student Feedback on what was most beneficial from Merit MPN from the 2022-2023 School Year:

The connections, definitely. Exploring my major and the opportunities available to campus on me are extremely helpful, but engaging with other people in a welcoming and insightful environment (especially when it comes to my major) had the largest positive impact on me.

I really liked the professor panel because seeing them answering the questions helped me see them more as regular people and I felt less intimidated. I tend to think of professors as just professors and I would be scared to approach one but they were all really nice people that would welcome a student going up to them. The biggest thing I got from the panel was a lot of information on how to get started with research, and it solidified my decision of wanting to get into research.

“I liked having a mentor close to my age and very easy to talk to if I was ever struggling or needed advice.”

Please email us at for more details or feel free to sign up for the LAS 199 MPN class on your own. We look forward to working with you this semester!

For junior and senior undergraduate students and graduate students:

Interested in being a mentor for the program? Please see more information here.