A Near-Peer Mentoring Cascade to Promote Inclusive Research Training at the Coastal and Marine Institute Laboratory

Project Number
Project Date Range
Focus Area(s)
Education, Training and Public Information, Healthy Coastal Ecosystems


After undergraduate students participate in mentored research, they are more likely to continue pursuing degrees and careers in STEM. Students from historically excluded communities have less access to mentored opportunities, exacerbating existing disparities within STEM fields.

This project expands an existing summer research program for community college students at the San Diego State University Coastal and Marine Institute Laboratory. The funding will create six research teams that pair a community college student with a rising senior at SDSU. A graduate student will mentor each pair, and the teams will conduct research related to marine science one day a week. This schedule is designed to accommodate students who cannot leave jobs or family constraints for a full-time summer program. 

Students will attend professional development workshops and have opportunities to present their experience to K-12 students in the fall, as well as to attend the November 2023 meeting of the Western Society of Naturalists. 

These presentations and networking opportunities intend to improve students’ understanding of how science works and build confidence in their science identities.

The program’s focus on community colleges and SDSU, which are all classified as Hispanic-serving institutions, is intended to result in a diverse group of undergraduates. The project will also provide equity-focused professional development for mentors, fostering inclusive and accessible spaces within marine science.

Principal Investigators
Brian Hentschel
San Diego State University (San Diego State)
Co-principal Investigators
Luke Miller
San Diego State University (San Diego State)
Paul Detwiler
San Diego State University
Gena Sbeglia
San Diego State University

Related News