Mentorship Course

“Polaris was an instrumental piece of my journey towards who I am today… I found the lessons during the program valuable in orienting me in college and building lifelong skills… All in all, Polaris helped me learn valuable lessons, build wonderful friendships, and develop a scientific identity from the very beginning of my college career.”

– Daniel B., Physics and Astronomy Polaris Alum

What is the Polaris Mentorship Course?

The Polaris Mentorship Course is a year-long class (1 credit for each semester) which pairs 1st & 2nd year Physics and Astronomy undergraduate students with graduate student mentors. The goal of the program is threefold, in which students will

  • Come to understand the status of diversity and inclusion in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), and the benefits and challenges that people from various backgrounds bring to STEM as students.
  • Successfully maintain and navigate a mentor-mentee relationship, including developing goals, communicating effectively, and harnessing mentorship as a step to research and academic success.
  • Work on goals that they set with their mentors during each class period. Some class days will be devoted to career development, skill building, and soft-skill workshops.

What is the Course about?

The Fall semester of the course (course #: PHYSICS 2050.01) will focus on OSU resources, diversity and inclusion in STEM, and issues faced by underrepresented groups. Students are matched with their graduate student mentors near the beginning of the semester. Each class period will consist of a presentation or activity on some topic followed by small/large group discussions. Examples of past classes include:

  • Study Skills and Academic Resources
  • Mental Health and Work/Life Balance
  • How to Talk about Diversity and Inclusion in STEM
  • Imposter Syndrome and Stereotype Threat
  • Implicit Bias

The Spring semester of the course (course #: PHYSICS 2050.02) will devote more time to career development and student projects. We will discuss summer research/internships, graduate school, and careers pursued by people with Physics and/or Astronomy degrees. Students will be introduced to research at OSU by completing a small research project with their mentor during the second half of the semester. The Polaris course culminates with a poster presentation about the students’ work at the end of the Spring. Note that completing the Fall semester course (PHYSICS 2050.01) is a prerequisite for the Spring semester course.

The syllabus for the 2023-2024 academic year can be found here. For more information about the Mentorship Course, please reach out to