IPM Ice Skating at Bakke Dec 2023

IPM Ice Skating at Bakke Dec 2023

International Peer Mentor (IPM) Program

What is the International Peer Mentor (IPM) Program?


Welcome! The IPM is designed to support new international students to UW-Madison by matching Mentees with Mentors. Mentors provide social opportunities, academic resources and professional development to a group of up to 10 mentees each.

Learn more on this page and check out this video!



The International Peer Mentor (IPM) Program  at the University of Wisconsin-Madison empowers international students through personalized one-on-one mentoring, social engagement, and connections with campus resources. Our mission is to cultivate a supportive community where mentees can thrive academically, socially, and culturally. By fostering meaningful relationships and providing comprehensive support, we aim to enhance the international student experience and promote their successful integration into campus life.


Mentors and Mentees will meet regularly in person and virtually.

Mentors will provide personal, professional and academic support and guidance that helps Mentees grow and accomplish their own objectives.

All participants will contribute to the enhancement of IPM through assessment surveys.


The IPM was developed in 2022 and launched in 2023. The first cohort of mentors were interviewed, selected, and trained in Spring 2023 semester. The first cohort of mentees were invited to apply in July 2023 and began their mentoring relationship in August 2023.

The program was founded as an enhancement and replacement to the “BRIDGE” program, which is no longer available.

Core Principles

  1. One-on-One Mentoring: Providing personalized support through dedicated mentors who offer guidance, advice, and assistance tailored to the unique needs of each mentee. This pillar emphasizes the importance of building strong, meaningful relationships between mentors and mentees.

  2. Social Engagement: Encouraging social interaction and community building among mentees through organized events, activities, and opportunities for cultural exchange. This pillar aims to foster a sense of belonging, connection, and camaraderie among international students.

  3. Campus Resource Connections: Assisting mentees in navigating and accessing various campus resources, such as academic support services, student organizations, counseling services, and career development resources. This pillar aims to empower mentees to make informed decisions and take advantage of the resources available to enhance their academic and personal growth.

  4. Academic and Cultural Success: Supporting mentees in achieving their academic goals by offering academic guidance, study strategies, and resources for academic success. Additionally, promoting cultural awareness, understanding, and embracing diversity to create an inclusive environment for all mentees.

These pillars form the core principles of the IPM, ensuring that international students receive individualized support, engage in a vibrant community, and benefit from the resources and opportunities available to them at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Meet the Mentors

Nithesh Prabhakar Chandrasekharan, Graduate Student
Sri Lanka, India, Kenya
Biochemistry, PhD

Wendi Chen, Sophomore
Mathematics & Economics, B.S.

Aanandita Dhawan, Graduate Student
Computer Science, M.S.


Elizaveta “Liza” Familiant, Junior
United States
Computer science & Russian, B.S.

Sai Mithun Guttikonda, Graduate Student
Agricultural & applied economics, M.S.


Bessie Kong, Sophomore
Sociology, B.A.

Arabelle Liberacki, Senior
United States
International studies & Spanish, B.A.

Henrieta Licha, Junior
Pharmacology & toxicology, B.S.

Chengxi “Eric” Lu, Sophomore
Finance & data science, B.B.A.

Gabriela Martinez Motta, Graduate Student
Environment & resources, PhD

Jahnavi Mattaparti, Senior
Computer science & data science, B.S.

Rubén Aguiló Schuurs, Sophomore
Astronomy and engineering physics, B.S.


Kate Stukel, Sophomore
United States
International studies, B.A.

Ken Wang, Graduate Student
International public affairs, M.S.

Yihan Wu, Sophomore
Psychology & neurobiology, B.S.

Get Involved with IPM

Boost your resume with tangible skills for any career: cross-cultural communication, time management and organization, teamwork, and more… while having FUN! 

The International Peer Mentor (IPM) program’s primary goal is to provide exceptional, on-going, personal support to new international students for their first semester (or more) here at UW-Madison.

Each IPM will serve on a team of 3 mentors with diverse backgrounds and identities.  Each Mentor will be assigned up to 10 new international students (mentees) for the semester. Teams of mentors will collaborate on events and activities for mentees. Rather than creating their own events, mentor teams will be expected to invite mentees to events on campus and in Madison.

Individual mentors will be responsible for on-going communication and outreach to support new international students. They will organize and facilitate one-on-one conversations that focus on the mentee’s overall wellbeing, adjustment to UW-Madison, cultural reflections, involvement opportunities, challenges, etc. Mentor training during the Spring semester will provide opportunities for to learn more about the skills needed to succeed as an IPM.

Mentor Job Duties and Responsibilities: 
·    Serve as a mentor for new international students
·    Develop professional relationships with mentees and other mentors
·    Reach out and respond to mentees regularly
·    Collaborate with other mentors on events for mentees
·    Act as a mentor/guide, not act as a friend or advisor (you may not date or socialize with mentees while you are a mentor)
·    Learn about and share various campus resources
·    Refer mentees to offices or services (including mental health, academic, career, etc.)
·    Attending staff meetings/trainings and one on one meetings with supervisor.
·    Contribute to the overall mission of ISS and the Global Engagement Team (GET)

How to Apply

Apply for the International Peer Mentor (IPM) Program!

The Global Engagement Team (GET) at International Student Services (ISS) is seeking exceptional students to join the International Peer Mentor Program (IPM)!

Mentors: For 2024, mentors have not yet been selected! For 2023, there were 15 mentors including international students, domestic students, grad and undergrad. Mentors will serve on a team of (up to) 3 and support a group of up to 10 mentees each.

Mentees: New international, degree seeking, undergraduate or graduate students will be invited to participate and sign up to have a Mentor.

Goals: Mentors will offer holistic support through one-on-one conversations (virtually and in-person), social gatherings, bringing mentees to campus events, encouraging involvement, answering questions, sharing resources, etc.

This program will provide opportunities for you to meet people from across campus, build skills in mentoring to enhance your resume, share your international experience, and have fun! Mentors will be matched with Mentees of the same academic level (Undergraduate or Graduate), but NOT from the same nationality or Major/academic field.



Timeline: Applications open before the semester begins and closes the day after the International Student Welcome and Information Fair (ISWIF). Application period may close early if the program is at capacity.

Time commitment: As a mentee, you are expected to connect with your mentor regularly but you are not required to attend or communicate for a specified amount of time. You can use your mentor as a resource as you need! Note: Mentors are expected to serve for 5-10 hours per week and have 10 mentees. Therefore, 1 hour per week of mentee time is appropriate.

Welcome Activity: You will be invited to an IPM “Kick off” event at the beginning of the semester. Details will be provided to mentees that are accepted to the program.

Application procedure: This is a first come, first served program. Sign up right away! Ideally, mentees will be matched with mentors of the same academic level (graduate or undergraduate) but NOT by any other factor. We hope this provides a variety and diversity of students in each group. The application may take you about 10 minutes to complete. If over capacity for the program, you will be added to a waitlist. Use your new UW-Madison email address to access the application!

Application Deadline(s): Sunday, August 18th, 2024 (Priority) and Sunday, September 1st, 2024 (Final)

Mentee Application


Timeline: Applications will open at the end of the Fall semester. Mentors will be selected by February and Trained throughout the Spring Semester. At this point, there is a small, virtual only, summer commitment.

Time commitment: about 5 hours per week and will fluctuate throughout the Fall semester. This is a 1-year commitment (January – December).

Training: In person, 2-4pm, Fridays, Feb 16 – April 26, 2024 for Spring 2024. All training is required – to be selected as a Mentor, you must commit to attending all training sessions. Some training will also take place remotely over the summer and in-person in August.

Compensation: Serving as a mentor is volunteer. However, food during trainings and events and IPM apparel is provided.

Application Deadline(s): Wednesday, January 31, 2024 (Priority) and Sunday, February 4, 2024 (Final)

Mentor Application

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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How much do mentees usually reach out to their mentors?

Some mentees respond less often and others require more time and attention. Individual approach to mentorship and support is what the IPM is all about. Outreach strategies as well as meeting mentees in person play an important role in establishing the communication channels. For the most part, mass emails don’t work!

How do you help mentees deal with emotional aspect of the transition, such as homesickness?

As a Mentor, you may be the first person mentees meet in the United States or Wisconsin. Take your mentees out for an event or spend some time together to show them that you care and they can feel comfortable around you. Even small things mean a lot sometimes.

As a Mentor, how will I deal with difficult questions that I might not have an answer to?

It is OKAY to not know everything! As a mentor you will have a strong network of fellow mentors who can help you by brainstorming ideas and sharing their experiences during the regular training socials (during the Fall semester). Similarly, the program coordinator and the IPM Global Engagement Team intern are there to help with such situations. It’s important to note that sometimes simply listening to the question and looking for the answer together is as valuable as the answer itself. 

Who coordinates the IPM Program?

The IPM program is coordinated by Jay Stokes, International Engagement Coordinator with support from a Global Engagement Team Intern.

How can I work as an Intern for the IPM program?

Thanks for your interest! Please continue to check our website and social media for job postings.

Submit your question or comment!

Submit your question or comment for the IPM program here or by emailing issprograms@iss.wisc.edu.

FAQs will be updated regularly.