Graduate Scholars of Excellence (GSE)

Group photo of GSE on the steps of Jesse Hall. GSE wearing black polos with gold panels on the sides.

The Graduate Scholars of Excellence program is open to underrepresented students who are currently pursuing a doctoral degree at Mizzou and was created to help streamline efforts of graduate student organizations serving underrepresented graduate students. These efforts include retention and success resources, and the provision of programming that furthers professional development and community building among underrepresented graduate students committed to inclusive excellence.

GSE participants are between their second and fifth academic years of study and have expressed a keen interest in receiving personal, academic, cultural, social, professional and leadership support.

The GSE initiative also offers numerous opportunities to engage, support, mentor and guide current and prospective underrepresented undergraduate students who may have considered attending graduate school.

Program Goals

  • Increase the recruitment and retention of a diverse graduate and professional student community.
  • Foster a sense of community among participants and their mentees.
  • Serve as a pipeline for graduate school programs.
  • Provide access to career guidance opportunities.
  • Enhance networking and social-relationship building skills.
  • Support and challenge underrepresented graduate students to achieve academic excellence.
  • Provide beneficial mentorship experiences for undergraduate mentees.

Guiding Program Themes

  • Access to Career Guidance and Scholarship Opportunities
  • Academic Support
  • Health Social Relationship Building
  • Networking and Presentation/Communication Skills
  • Sense of Belonging on Campus

GSE Mentorship

Mentorship and support are key drivers of success. In an effort to enrich the student experience, a mentorship program has been implemented to help GSE participants connect to and create unique relationships with underrepresented undergraduate students. This program component seeks to provide a mutually enriching experience for both the mentor and mentee, as they will be afforded opportunities to share various experiences (i.e., academic, personal, professional, social and more) while learning from one another.

GSE mentors are assigned two to three mentees for the academic year. The mentors are expected to have at least three interactions with their mentees each semester. The GSE program presents opportunities for mentors and mentees to interact by way of the annual Mentor/Mentee Mixer event, paid campus dining meetups, and mid-semester social activities. Other engagement opportunities are identified by both the GSE mentor and their individual mentees. This component of the GSE program aids in:

  • Demystifying graduate school for students
  • Providing encouragement
  • Engaging students in conversation
  • Establishing connections to on-campus resources
  • Providing constructive and supportive feedback

Expectations for Program Participants

  • Actively participate in workshops, presentations and events hosted by the GSE program.
  • Host one workshop/presentation during the academic year.
  • Actively engage undergraduate student mentees.
  • Give presentations about graduate education at Mizzou to a variety of audiences.
  • Serve as an ongoing contact/resource to prospective students throughout the graduate school application and admissions process.
  • Assist with campus tours and other recruitment and outreach programming.
  • Travel to conferences and recruiting events.
  • Exhibit excellence in academic performance and research.
  • Encourage other graduate students to attend “open” GSE-sponsored events.
  • Identify social activities of interest to graduate students.

2019-20 Program Activities

  • Fall Retreat
  • Graduate Student Orientation
  • International Center Welcome Picnic
  • Supporting Marginalized Students in the Academy (Panel Discussion)
  • Secret Life a GSE (Presentation)
  • Mentorship Mixer
  • Inclusive Teaching (Training)
  • Physical and Mental Health Well-being (Presentation)
  • Why Graduate School? (Panel)
  • Implicit Bias (Training)
  • Grant Writing (Workshop)
  • Editing Articles for Publication (Workshop)
  • Bound for Graduate School (Workshop)
  • MOCHA & WOCHA Conference
  • Year-End Retreat

2019-20 Group Demographics

Twenty-four students are slated to participate in the GSE program for the 2019-20 academic year.

Academic Concentration Areas for the group include:

  • Animal Science
  • Biological Engineering
  • Biological Sciences
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Counseling Psychology
  • Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis
  • Educational Psychology
  • English-Linguistics
  • Food Science
  • Human Development & Family Science
  • Music Education
  • Natural Resources
  • Organizational Communication
  • Sociology
  • Textile and Apparel Management

Attended Undergraduate Institutions for program participants include:

  • California State University – Bakersfield
  • California State University – Sacramento
  • Central Methodist University
  • Fisk University
  • Florida A&M University
  • Indiana University – Bloomington
  • Lincoln University – Jefferson City
  • Medgar Evers College
  • Oakwood University
  • Ottawa University
  • The Evergreen State College
  • The University of Texas at San Antonio
  • Truman State University
  • University of Chicago
  • University of Guyana
  • University of Missouri
  • University of the West Indies
  • William Patterson University
  • Xavier University of Louisiana

Hometown Locations for program participants include:

  • Bakersfield, CA
  • Berkeley, CA
  • Brooklyn, NY
  • Cape Girardeau, MO
  • Chicago
  • Dallas, TX
  • Durham, NC
  • East St. Louis, IL
  • Fayetteville, NC
  • Freeport, Grand Bahama, Bahamas
  • Gary, IN
  • Georgetown, Guyana, South America
  • Independence, MO
  • Kansas City, MO
  • Kearny, NJ
  • Lima, Peru
  • Miami
  • Milwaukee, WI
  • New York City, NY
  • Pensacola, FL
  • St. Louis
  • Trinidad and Tobago

Program Contact

To learn how you can support the GSE initiative, please contact Morgan McAboy-Young, associate director for access and outreach programming, at

To request a presentation, please complete our GSE Speaker Request Form.