Applications open for summer 2019 LEAP mentors

Sean Yoder
October 15, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Applications are now open for students to become LEAP mentors and help incoming first-year students make a summertime transition to the University Park campus.

In its 24th year, the Learning Edge Academic Program (LEAP) is an academic summer program for first-year students at the University Park campus.

LEAP mentors play an important role in the program. As a mentor for the LEAP, rising sophomores, juniors and seniors have the opportunity to help incoming first-year students by scheduling study sessions, organizing social events, helping students learn about opportunities and resources on campus and in the community, and serving as a resource for their assigned pride. LEAP mentors receive an hourly wage as well as room and board on campus during Summer Session II.

Applications for LEAP mentors are open now until Dec. 14. Those interested in applying can do so here

Kelly Griffith, Summer Session director, said any returning student can be a LEAP mentor. They need not have been in LEAP themselves.

She said the Office for Summer Session often sees as much growth from the mentors as the participating students. Some mentors want to help recreate their positive transition, she said, while others want to help prevent a difficult one like they experienced.

“I think for a lot of students, when they talk to us about why they wanted to become a mentor, really a lot of them either had a great transition experience and they want to share that with their peers, or they had a rough transition and they want to give back and make sure that other people have a smoother transition to Penn State and to college,” Griffith said. “A lot of them are really wanting to give back, and the idea of being in a peer mentoring role gives them the opportunity to gain some leadership skills, share their love of Penn State, and share what they’ve learned about how to be successful here.”

Last year, LEAP helped approximately 1,350 students in their transition to the University Park campus. LEAP participants join a “pride” by enrolling in two linked classes during Summer Session II that fulfill either a General Education or major-specific requirement. Prides are small, with a maximum of 24 students, and each has its own assigned mentor.

Students interested in becoming a mentor are asked to attend one of the upcoming information sessions.

  • Wednesday, Oct. 17, 6 to 7 p.m., 122 Thomas Building
  • Tuesday, Oct. 30, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., 104 Thomas Building
  • Monday, Nov. 12, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., 102 Thomas Building
  • Tuesday, Nov. 27, 6 to 7 p.m., 104 Thomas Building     
  • Thursday, Dec. 6, 7 to 8 p.m., 104 Thomas Building

The Office for Summer Session will begin reviewing applications as soon as the window closes on Dec. 14, and candidates will be contacted for interviews in mid-January. Final decisions will be made by spring break.

Candidates must meet the following criteria:

  • Attend one information session.
  • Be a full-time student at University Park.
  • Be in good academic standing, at least a 3.0 GPA preferred.
  • Be able to commit to the second summer session, June 20 through Aug. 9, 2019.
  • Be able to attend weekly staff meetings during the program.
  • Be able to commit 10 hours of work per week.
  • Be willing to participate in evening and weekend activities.
  • Be highly motivated, enthusiastic and dependable in representing Penn State and LEAP.
  • Be able to attend the mentor spring training session in April.

For more information, visit the Office for Summer Session website or contact Brianne Gridley at or 814-836-4174.

The Office for Summer Session is part of Penn State Undergraduate Education, the academic administrative unit that provides leadership and coordination for University-wide programs and initiatives in support of undergraduate teaching and learning at Penn State. Learn more about Undergraduate Education at

Last Updated October 15, 2018