RISE Bridge Program

Important Dates

  • June 24, 2022: Application Deadline
  • August 8-12, 2022: RISE Program Dates

About RISE

“My favorite session was the personal pitches at the end of the week. I felt a huge relief to be able to share my story so openly with peers and the deans, and really enjoyed hearing the stories of everyone, too. I felt a new sense of inspiration afterwards.” 2020 RISE Participant


“The most important thing I got out of the RISE program was the connections to people. The people from that week have already been amazing help and I know that I will keep in touch. I learned how to get around campus, learned not to be afraid to ask for help.” 2019 RISE Participant


“Thanks to the resources provided, I truly feel like I belong here.” 2018 RISE participant

The Razorgrad Institute for Success and Engagement (RISE) is a week-long program designed to invest in promising new graduate students from historically underrepresented populations in graduate school (African American, Hispanic or Latinx, American Indian and Alaskan Native, and first-generation) during the transition into graduate education on our campus.

The Graduate School is committed to creating an engaged culture and climate of appreciation for inclusivity, diversity, equity, respectfulness, and civility. The RISE program is an important part of our strategic effort to do just that.

RISE is held in early August, shortly before the start of the fall semester, with 20-30 new graduate students participating in activities designed to create community, promote self-awareness and self-confidence with targeted workshops around identifying personal strengths, crafting a basic pitch session, managing personal finances, successful networking and professional presence, and time management/self-care. Additionally, activities will be planned to familiarize students with campus, Fayetteville, and the Northwest Arkansas area.

Time Commitment & Content

Participants are expected to attend all activities and events. A timetable of the week’s activities will be shared with participants closer to the start of the program. In the meantime, participants can expect to start with breakfast every morning and go through dinner every evening during the week-long program. Below are some of the topics we’ve previously covered during the institute.


  • Library Tour & Citation Software
  • Mentoring Discussion
  • Blackboard & Other Technologies
  • Paragraph Mapping & Other Tricks of the Trade

Professional Development

  • Professionalism in the Classroom & the Workplace
  • Successful Networking & Professional Presence
  • Post-PhD process talk on “Climbing the Academic Ladder”

Personal Toolkit

  • Managing Personal Finances (and Building A Budget)
  • 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
  • Stress & Anxiety Toolbox
  • Time Management/Self Care
  • Not Knowing What You Don’t Know & How to Find Out

Community Building

  • Unexpected Art Walk with the School of Art
  • Strengths Quest & Lenses of Introspection Exercises
  • Current Student & Faculty Panels
  • Social Group Activities
  • Shared Group Meals
  • Visit to Crystal Bridges Museum

What's Included?

  • There is no cost for participants selected to join the institute.
  • Participants will also have access to current graduate students and RISE alumni as mentors during the institute. These student mentors will assist in answering questions about campus and community life, provide a connection to the university, and be able to share personal insight on the graduate school experience here at the University of Arkansas.
  • Depending on health restrictions at the time of the program, participants will be provided breakfast, lunch and dinner Monday-Friday during the institute.
  • Transportation and any costs for group activities will be covered by the program. Additionally, participants will receive selected materials to accompany some of the presentations.

Application Process

To participate, students must be admitted to the University of Arkansas Graduate School without condition, and commence their studies in the summer or fall of 2022. Preference is given to domestic students who identify as a racial/ethnic minority and/or first-generation, and who earned their previous degree(s) at an institution other than the University of Arkansas. International students are also able to apply, pending available space.

A complete application packet will include:

  1. A nomination in support of the student by the graduate coordinator for their department/program or the department chair
  2. An academic resumé or CV from the student
  3. A one-page statement of purpose from the student, discussing their goals for their graduate studies and how the RISE program will help achieve those goals

Applications must be submitted to the Office of Graduate Student Support (gradsupport@uark.edu) by the date listed above.

Applications are reviewed by committee after the application deadline. All applicants will be notified of the committee's decision by email, usually within 2 weeks after the deadline.


For additional information about RISE or the graduate school, please contact the Office of Graduate Student Support at 479-575-7038 or gradsupport@uark.edu.

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