Early-Year Research & Creative Mentoring


All students must comply with WSU COVID-19 guidelines as well as Minnesota State Colleges and Universities COVID-19 guidelines for working on campus during the project period.

Please also review COVID Travel Guidance if your project requires in-state or out-of-state travel.


How does it work?

Students with 50 credits or fewer at the time of application work with faculty or staff mentors on research or creative projects in different disciplines.

Students develop an understanding and learn skills in various aspects of research, like planning, basic principles relative to research and creative work in the field, critical inquiry protocols, tracking data, writing about findings, and presenting findings.

Projects occur during the spring semester, and each cohort will attend a kick-off event as well as give informal presentations about their projects. Final products (e.g., reports, presentations) for each project will be archived in the WSU OpenRiver Digital Repository.

Students receive $300 for participating. Up to $300 per project may be available to assist mentors with purchasing supplies, although not all projects will receive supply funding.

During year two of this pilot program (2022-23), 12 students will be selected to complete a project. Project proposals and student applications will be reviewed and matched by a team of faculty and staff.

Grants and Sponsored Projects expects that more projects will be funded in subsequent years depending on funding.

  • Full-time undergraduate students who have less than 50 credit hours completed at the time of application
  • First-generation college and underrepresented student applications will be given first consideration
  • All majors, colleges, and undeclared students eligible
  • Winona and Rochester students may apply
  • Transfer and non-traditional students may also apply
  • Students may apply more than once but will only be eligible to complete one project
  • Current PSEO students are not eligible
  • When matched, connect with mentor during fall semester to confirm availability
  • Work with the mentor to prepare a schedule for the project research or creative work
  • Attend a kick-off event, planned by Grants and Sponsored Projects, in mid-January
  • Complete mentee responsibilities during an eight-week period between January and April, contributing approximately three to four hours per week toward the project
  • Give a presentation about the project, including a description, outcomes, and future plans at a cohort discussion session during the Ramaley Research Symposium
  • Provide feedback to Grants and Sponsored Projects at the end of the project
  • Students are not required to complete any specific prior coursework, although they should complete at least one semester of classes before the project begins

August – September: Learn about program through OR 100 classes, Student Life and Development staff, advisors, or other Grants and Sponsored Projects promotion. Students may view project details shared by faculty in early October (presentation details TBA).

Oct. 6 – Nov. 3: Complete the student application.

Nov. 15 –19: Students are notified about matches and are allowed to accept, decline, or ask to be re-matched during the current or a future cycle, if possible.

Nov. 22: Grants and Sponsored Projects announces all confirmed matches.

Early-Year Research and Creative Mentoring program participants will be invited to join an asynchronous virtual course to access additional resources related to the importance of mentorship, guidance on being a good mentor/mentee, and general best practices for conducting research or creative scholarly works.

Through this course, participants will also receive reminders about expected mentorship outcomes and they will have the opportunity to connect with other mentors or mentees.

  • Propose and develop a project, including supply budget, and describe your methodology or creative strategy
  • Confirm your availability for projects and share project details through an informational meeting in the fall
  • Confirm student matches and reach out to student(s) during the end of the fall semester to discuss a schedule for the project research or creative work
  • Attend a kick-off event, planned by Grants and Sponsored Projects, in mid-January
  • Mentor one or two students for an eight-week period in the spring through guided work time, and training on any procedures, equipment, or materials needed to complete the project
  • Attend and guide student presentations during the Ramaley Research Symposium and participate in a facilitated discussion about their projects and their role as mentees
  • Provide feedback to Grants and Sponsored Projects at the end of the project

May 1 – Sept. 17: Complete proposal survey.

Sept. 20 – Oct. 1: The Review Team determines which proposals are eligible to be included in the pool of candidate projects.

Early October: Confirm availability for projects and share details about project description through a recorded presentation.

Mid-November: Approve student matches; if no matches are found or if a project cannot be funded this year, faculty can opt to keep a proposal in the pool for the next academic year.