Students teach students in the Peer Scholars Program

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Sometimes experts are facing you at the front of the lecture hall. And sometimes they are sitting right next to you.

This fall, the NCSU Libraries launches the Peer Scholars Program, which gives graduate students or postdoctoral researchers the opportunity to teach specific research skills to their peers. With offerings coming online later in the fall, the program will feature workshops, seminars and other programming focused on intro-, intermediate-, and advanced-level research and technical skillsets. These will range from advanced skills in statistical software and computer programming to more effective science communication and how to create a great research poster or presentation.

“NC State's current strategic plan describes a ‘pathway to the future,’” says Jennifer Garrett, Research Librarian for Management, Education and Social Sciences at the Libraries and co-lead on the program. “The Peer Scholars Program advances this vision by creating relevant, innovative, and collaborative programming and partnerships that will have impact across the full lifecycle of research and scholarship."

By sharing their expertise with the NC State community, early career researchers can gain valuable teaching experience, improve their communication skills, and use classroom technology in an informal teaching setting. This partnership between the Libraries, graduate students and postdoctoral researchers also helps meet a growing campus need for instruction in research skills crucial to the success of early-career researchers.

“Peer mentoring represents an important strategy to improve academic and career outcomes for graduate and postdoctoral trainees,” says Jason Cramer, Professional Development Program Manager at the Graduate School. “In my experience, students and postdocs who experience strong peer mentor relationships are more productive, find their academic experience to be more fulfilling, and are more likely to obtain jobs in a highly competitive job market. The Graduate School is thrilled to work with the NCSU Libraries to support the development of graduate students and postdocs.”

Visit the Peer Scholars page to see current offerings and to register. Peer Scholars offerings are free and open to the NC State campus community. Advance registration is required.

Many offerings are currently under development, but some possible workshops include:

  • Using Illustrator: creating images and figures for publications with Adobe Illustrator
  • LaTeX for beginners: how to get set up and prepare simple documents, bibliographies, and slides using an open-source IDE
  • Version control for small/medium projects: using svn, git, and/or wikis to ease headaches in collaborative projects
  • Research pop-talks for a lay audience: how to compose a short pitch of your research to deliver to audiences outside your field.

If you are interested in teaching a Peer Scholars workshop or giving a talk, please fill out the online application form to propose an idea. If your idea is selected, a Libraries representative will partner with you to develop and release the idea. You can suggest an independent topic or develop one in one of the following themes:

  • Authorship, Scholarly Identity, and Impact
  • Programming & Software Development
  • Data Analysis & Visualization
  • Data Mining, Wrangling, and Cleaning
  • Project Management/Workflow Approaches
  • Data Management & Reproducibility
  • Scholarly Publishing & Communication
  • Citizen Science
  • Diversity & Inclusion

Contacts
Mohan Ramaswamy (Project Lead), 919.513.3157,
Jennifer Garrett (Co-Project Lead), 919.513.0536,
Hannah Rainey (Project Manager), 919. 513.0086,
Chris Erdmann (Advisor/Content Development), 919.515.5634,