Graduate Resident Mentors Balance School and Work

Every fall, hundreds of international students begin to move into their new home at Hart Hall Global Living and Learning Center and are greeted by eight Graduate Resident Mentors (GRMs). These mentors are from a variety of backgrounds.  Some have recently earned their undergraduate degrees while others are taking time out of the traditional workforce to further their education.

"We all come in here with a wealth of knowledge and unique experience between the group of us," said Reid Adler, a first year Graduate Resident Mentor at Hart Hall this fall semester. "It's not only beneficial to us, but to the students as well. The other GRMs and I are able to share our experience with our residents and we're able to learn from them culturally." 

Adler earned his bachelor's at SUNY Oswego in Graphic Design and Communication and had four different internships during his undergraduate career.  He is currently working towards his MA in Strategic Communication.

"Residents are usually coming to me asking for help finding internships or preparing themselves for interviews. It's an incredibly rewarding experience being able to help students out since we [the GRMs] are generally older than the residents, so we have more to offer than other students their age."

Students come from all over the globe to study at SUNY Oswego and many of these international students take up residence in Hart Hall. Since students are coming from different countries each semester, there is always something to learn from other members of the community.

Tasks of the GRM

Unlike Resident Assistants (RAs), GRMs are also tasked with assisting Dr. Rebecca Burch in teaching the IST 190/390 Global Issues and Awareness course. GRMs not only grade student papers, but also put together presentations and hold discussions based on international topics. These programs run from a range of topics from mental health practices used across the world to discussions based on drug epidemics in countries outside of the United States.

"The IST programs we put on have a wealth of information on global topics for students," says Adler. "The best part about these programs is the discussions because students are able to bring their own knowledge and contribute personal experiences to the conversation."

There is a lot to balance between being a GRM and a full-time graduate student, but the benefits pay off for the student workers. Adler hopes to one day become a professor at a college campus. "This job provides an incredibly rewarding feeling. There's really nowhere else where you can get this type of experience working with students so closely while also earning a degree."