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Become a Nature of Life Peer Mentor

Applications are due Wednesday, February 24, 2016 by 11:59 p.m. Please read through the program information and job descriptions and click the "Apply Now" link at the bottom of the page to apply.

Nature of Life Peer Mentor

Job Descriptions: Senior Peer Mentor | Peer Mentor | Associate Peer Mentor

Program Information

NOL @ Itasca gives incoming first-year students the opportunity to live and study intensively in small groups with faculty and student peers for three days at the University of Minnesota's Itasca Biological Station and Laboratories in Itasca State Park. During NOL @ Itasca, students participate in intensive field/lab experience modules, each of which is taught by a faculty member with 12-15 student participants. With topics ranging from genetics (gene mapping, counseling, modeling) to ecology (wildlife tracking, insect behavior, bog ecosystems) to scientific method essentials (hypothesis formation, experimental design, critical thinking), there is something for every inquisitive mind and passionate learner. 

Students also learn about time-honored University of Minnesota traditions and the campus resources available to support their academic and personal success. 

NOL @ Itasca is characterized by an atmosphere of intense academic exploration. The objectives of the program are:
  • Personalize education by providing first-year students with direct contact with faculty, staff and peer advisors;
  • Encourage a spirit of mentorship between students and faculty;
  • Provide a small-group introduction to specific areas of the biological sciences;
  • Encourage students to explore opportunities for independent research at the University of Minnesota
  • Introduce students to laboratory and/or field resources; and
  • Build community and have fun!
For all three Nature of Life peer mentor positions, superior candidates are expected to exhibit the following qualifications:
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • The ability to work effectively with people with a wide variety of backgrounds and roles;
  • Excellent organizational skills, including the ability to manage multiple priorities and solve problems creatively and quickly;
  • Familiarity with University of Minnesota and College of Biological Sciences academic resources; and
  • The ability to demonstrate and maintain high levels of self-motivation, humor, enthusiasm, maturity, and open-mindedness.
In Addition:
  • All Peer Mentors and Associate Peer Mentors must be available for all training dates in late-June/early-July 2016, as well as all five NOL @ Itasca sessions, July 6-26, 2016.
  • Associate Peer Mentors are typically students who have just finished their first year of undergraduate study; Peer Mentors are typically students who have just finished their sophomore or junior year of study; Senior Peer Mentors are students with previous NOL @ Itasca experience, usually having just finished their junior or senior year of study
  • Previous experience working with student groups is highly preferred


Senior Peer Mentor Job Description

The Senior Peer Mentor assists the Nature of Life staff in implementing the NOL @ Itasca program. Candidates must have previous experience with the NOL @ Itasca program. They will work closely with the NOL office to prepare for the upcoming sessions, supervise Peer Mentors during NOL @ Itasca and perform administrative tasks for the program. Exact dates and times will be arranged upon hiring, but a general timeline of responsibilities is as follows:

Before NOL @ Itasca (March and May/June/ Early July):
  • Participate in the hiring of NOL Peer and Associate Peer Mentors during February/March
  • Perform administrative and organizational tasks, including but not limited to: contacting NOL @ Itasca students and families; tracking student registration, parking, and housing; Moodle and chromebook preparation; faculty coordination, communication, and assignments; cabin, group, and Guild assignments
  • Together with the NOL coordinator and staff, design and lead the Peer Mentor/Associate Peer Mentor training in early July
At NOL @ Itasca (July):
  • Be a point of contact at Lake Itasca; help monitor NOL email
  • Act as leader of the Peer Mentor team
    • Supervise PMs/APMs during program/activity preparation and setup
    • Assign PM/APM responsibilities
    • Assist with exam preparation and recording of grades
    • Troubleshoot issues as needed
  • Assist with daily changes to session attendees and agenda items for each session
  • Emcee and lead activities or events; instruct students on curriculum, rules, and expectations of program
  • Other duties as assigned by the NOL @ Itasca staff
After NOL @ Itasca (August)
  • Assist with NOL @ Itasca program assessment and wrap-up, as needed

The Senior Peer Mentor will receive room, board, and $1750 for full-time work throughout the Nature of Life sessions at Itasca. Additional responsibilities before and after the NOL @ Itasca experience are compensated at $11.50/hour.

The position offers an excellent opportunity to develop leadership skills and to connect with CBS faculty and administration.


Peer Mentor Job Description

Peer Mentors act as advisors, residence staff, and teaching assistants to faculty in Itasca during the NOL @ Itasca experience. In addition, Peer Mentors will work approximately 2-5 hours per week during the following fall and spring semester with the management of the NOL course sequence. Training and program preparation will begin in late June, with exact dates to be determined after hiring.

All Peer Mentors will:
  • Lead small groups of students (12 – 13) in discussions and activities
  • Serve as teaching assistants to faculty for their modules
  • Assist with and attend evening information sessions
  • Support NOL @ Itasca staff as needed
During the fall and spring semester, Peer Mentors will:
  • Work a minimum of 2-5 hours per week on Nature of Life course activities and support
  • Assist in grading of required assignments and assist in managing student's completion of NOL courses; and
  • Plan and lead social/educational activities as follow-up on campus, as needed

Peer Mentors will receive room, board, and $1500 for full-time work during the program, beginning with training at the end of June, and including all NOL @ Itasca sessions July 6-26.

Academic year NOL course-related responsibilities during the following fall and spring semester are compensated at $10/hour.


Associate Peer Mentor Job Description

Associate Peer Mentors (APM) coordinate travel between St Paul and Itasca. They ensure all NOL @ Itasca participants are registered, facilitate networking activities during transportation and implement program surveys. Training and program preparation will begin in late June with exact dates to be determined after hiring.

All Associate Peer Mentors will:
  • Coordinate check-in and registration in St. Paul before each session
  • Ride the bus to and from Itasca each session;
  • Facilitate networking activities and entertainment; and
  • Assist Peer Mentors and NOL @ Itasca staff as needed

Associate Peer Mentors will receive room, board, and a stipend of $750. 


Click here to apply to become a NOL @ Itasca Peer Leader >>

Applications are due Wednesday, February 24, 2016 by 11:59 p.m.