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Become a Nature of Life Peer Mentor

NOL @ Itasca 2020 Peer Mentor applications are now closed. 

Nature of Life Peer Mentor

Job Descriptions: Associate Peer Mentor | Peer Mentor | Senior 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 10-12 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), you will experience and help students explore a variety of science topics in multiple formats.

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 and community building. The program objectives are:
  • Personalize education by providing incoming 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.
Superior candidates for all three NOL @ Itasca peer mentor positions will exhibit:
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Team and independent working skills
  • A commitment to inclusivity and 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 mentor roles must be available for all training dates in late-June/early-July 2020, as well as all six NOL @ Itasca sessions, July 5-29, 2020.
  • 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 work experience, usually having just finished their junior or senior year of study.

Associate Peer Mentor (APM) Job Description

Associate Peer Mentors are the friendliest people you could ever hope to meet.  They welcome students to the program and manage travel between St. Paul and Itasca, ensuring that all NOL @ Itasca participants are checked in and ready to embark on their NOL @ Itasca experience in a smooth fashion and with high spirits.  At the station, they are photographers and memory-makers, capturing moments for the slideshow and helping students connect with each other over s’mores or ping pong.

Training and preparation for the NOL @ Itasca program 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 student connections
  • Assist Peer Mentors and NOL @ Itasca staff as needed

Associate Peer Mentors will receive room, board, and a stipend of $1,250 during the program, beginning with training at the end of June, and including all NOL @ Itasca sessions July 5-29.

Peer Mentor (PM) Job Description

Peer Mentors are the heart and soul of the student experience.  They are ringleaders and high five-givers and role models who are ready to have a heart to heart in one moment and teach a group how to pipette in the next. The words, “Absolutely!” and “How can I help?” are never far from their lips.

Training and preparation for the NOL @ Itasca program will begin in late June, with exact dates to be determined after hiring.

During NOL @ Itasca, all Peer Mentors will:
  • Lead small groups of students (10-12) in discussions and activities;
  • Serve as teaching assistants to faculty for their modules
  • Assist with and attend evening information sessions
  • Responsibly support students and NOL @ Itasca staff 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 5-29.

Senior Peer Mentor (SPM) Job Description

Senior Peer Mentors make NOL @ Itasca happen. Equal parts Excel wizard and motivational speaker, they are “details people” who also love to lead a team to excellence. They work closely with the NOL office to prepare for the program, supervise the peer mentor team during NOL @ Itasca, and perform valuable administrative tasks by the bucketful. Candidates must have previous work experience with the NOL @ Itasca 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, as schedules allow
  • Perform administrative and organizational tasks, including but not limited to: contacting NOL @ Itasca students and families; managing student registration, parking, and housing; Canvas and Chromebook preparation; faculty coordination, communication, and assignments; cabin, group, and Guild assignments
  • Together with the NOL coordinators, design and lead the Peer Mentor/Associate Peer Mentor training in early July
At NOL @ Itasca (July):
  • Lead 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
  • Be a central point of contact at NOL @ Itasca; monitor email account
  • Communicate daily schedule changes to faculty, staff, and session attendees
  • 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.

NOL @ Itasca 2020 Peer Mentor applications are now closed.