Reflecting on our experience mentoring the inaugural cohort, through the Grad Stepping Program, we are honored to have had the privilege to provide a space for students from underrepresented backgrounds (i.e., racially/ethnically minoritized individuals, LGBTQ individuals, individuals with disabilities, immigrants, international students, first-generation and/or low-income students, individuals who have experienced homelessness, individuals with former justice involvement, and former foster youth) to gain exposure to media psychology and support them through various stages of exploring and applying to graduate school. We hope that the cohort members will reflect on their experiences and apply what they have learned and explored through their 6 months in the program to any path they end up taking, as media psychology and technological applications within psychology have broad applications.
We appreciated receiving positive feedback on the benefits of the program, from learning more about the field and the graduate application process to connecting with peers and leaders in the field. One cohort member, Tose Agbelusi, shared,
Through this program, I was able to be exposed to numerous aspects of psychology that I had never even considered, which helped me to cement what I hope to pursue in my future. Furthermore, the Grad Stepping program was extremely helpful in learning the ins and outs of the application process. Everything I learned was extremely valuable during my graduate application process.
We also hoped to serve in a supportive role to cohort members. Another member, Nicole R. Benquechea, reflecting on this, stated,
Although the years have been challenging with the pandemic, I appreciate being in the Grad Stepping Program for Media Psychology. This mentoring program helped me with my academic and professional networking. I had great opportunities in this program, and I would like to thank everyone who has helped me sincerely.
When we first envisioned this program 2 years ago, we aimed to benefit students, but along the way, it also further developed our own leadership skills. Through this program, we were pushed to learn and grow from the cohort members, who helped shape the Grad Stepping community. We loved celebrating their successes, including doctoral program acceptances, and we look forward to continuing to expand the program moving forward by welcoming our next cohort this summer.