Graduate Scholars of Excellence (GSE)


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

Expectations for Program Participants

  • Participants are expected to attend GSE-sponsored activities. Session dates will be identified in a Participant Agreement, issued per academic year, that will need to be signed upon acceptance into the program.
  • Commit on average 7 hours per month to GSE programmatic activities. This time will be spent engaging in programmatic activities, and interacting with assigned mentees and mentors. 
  • Participate in both traditional and non-traditional programming formats to explore and achieve guiding program themes. The program is designed to be both a personal and collective experience. Working with a faculty/staff mentor to elevate a participant’s experience is one non-traditional format that may be requested. 
  • Fully commit to the activities and come prepared to GSE sessions. Participants will be expected to be an active learner and commit to working with fellow cohort members and session presenters.  

Program Contact

To learn how you can support the GSE initiative, please contact Jennifer Brown at

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