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.

Program Overview

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.

Aims and Objectives

  • 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.
  • Increase faculty recruitment of marginalized Ph.D. students.

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 are 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 a minimum of nine contact hours with reach mentee per semester. The GSE program presents opportunities for mentors and mentees to interact by way of Microsoft Teams. The mentorship 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
  • Creating a true graduate school pipeline program

Mentee partnerships for the 2020-21 academic year have been solidified with the MU McNair Scholars, MU TRiO, and Women of Color, Honor, and Ambition programs. A total of 50 undergraduate students have been paired with a GSE mentor.

Expectations for Program Participants

  • Giving presentations about graduate education at Mizzou to a variety of audiences.
  • Serving as an ongoing contact/resource to prospective students throughout the graduate school application and admissions process.
  • Assisting with campus tours and other recruitment and outreach programming.
  • Traveling to conferences and recruiting events.
  • Exhibiting excellence in academic performance and research.
  • Identifying social activities of interest to graduate students.

2020-21 Group Demographics

Twenty-five students are slated to participate in the GSE program for the 2020-21 academic year. Academic concentration areas for the group include:

  • Biological Engineering
  • Biological Sciences
  • Chemistry
  • Communication
  • Counseling Psychology
  • Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis
  • Educational Psychology
  • English-Linguistics
  • Food Science
  • Health & Rehabilitation Science
  • Music Education
  • Organizational Communication
  • School Psychology
  • Special Education
  • Sociology
  • Textile and Apparel Management
  • Therapeutics
Attended undergraduate institutions from the following:
  • California State University – Bakersfield
  • California State University – Sacramento
  • Central Methodist University
  • Evergreen State College
  • Fisk University
  • Florida State University
  • Hampton University
  • Indiana University – Bloomington
  • Lincoln University – Jefferson City
  • Medgar Evers College
  • Oakwood University
  • Truman State University
  • University of Chicago
  • University of Illinois
  • University of Missouri
  • University Sierra Leone
  • University of Texas – San Antonio
  • University of the West Indies
  • William Patterson University
  • Xavier University of Louisiana

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.