Program Overview

Adjusting to life as a new graduate student is a daunting task. The challenge of balancing the personal demands of adjusting to a new town with the academic demands of a rigorous courseload can seem insurmountable. However, there are people here to help. The Mentors and Proteges (MAP) program is designed to pair first-year graduate students with senior level graduate students who can offer guidance, advice, and commiseration over all the issues that face you when you arrive at MSU and as you progress through your first years of graduate school. Whether you have questions about choosing an advisor, want to know how to start studying for your comprehensive exams, or just need someone to listen to you whine about homework, we are here to help you find the human resources you need to be successful in this program.

Signing up is easy. Simply fill out the Protege Questionnaire that you can find on this website, and return it to Kathryn Williamson (, either via email or in her box in the physics office. MAP will then pair you up with one of the students who has volunteered to mentor by looking at what both of you expect and want from the mentoring relationship. You can check out the list of available mentors now, and if you want to, you can request someone specific. Once you have been paired up, met your mentor, and both decide that you want to continue the relationship, we have a Mentor Agreement Form that the two of you can fill out together, specifying how often you'll meet, what you want to talk about, etc. Finally, you will both agree that if either party wants to end the mentoring relationship for any reason, you can do it with no hard feelings. In fact, if you're feeling awkward about it, MAP will end the relationship for you, so no need to feel nervous about signing up!

Once you've sent us your application, you'll want to check out the schedule of events planned for the upcoming semester. We will have social outings, comps study sessions, Q&A sessions, and hopefully much more! Even if you don't feel like signing up for one-on-one mentoring, you are welcome to attend these events. The point of MAP, after all, is to foster a supportive community in our department.

Want to be a mentor?

This program sounds amazing, right? Don't you want to be a mentor? Fantastic! We're always looking for enthusiastic people to help out. Just fill out the Mentor Questionnaire and return to Laura Sampson ( either via email or in her box in the physics office. We'll let you know that we got your application and put your information up on the website. Then when we find a match for you, you'll hear from us again.