RISE Bridge Program

Important Dates

  • August 14, 2023: Application Opens
  • September 25, 2023: Last day to apply
  • September 12-29, 2023: Interviews of candidates
  • October 3, 2023: Email annoucements to students selected
  • October 9, 2023: Lunch & Launch 

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

Graduate School can be challenging, especially for students who are the first in their families to pursue higher learning. A student can easily sidetrack away from successful outcomes by not adjusting to intense academic and research rigors and the social environment. At GSIE, the Razorgrad Institute for Success and Engagement (RISE) developed a program that envelops peer mentors and a comprehensive guide for mentees to get attuned to the University of Arkansas life as a graduate student. The idea is to introduce an understanding of services, resources, and experiences offered on campus and beyond. The program parallels the GSIE academic calendar of activities and combines one-on-one conversations, group activities, leadership development, professional development, wellness/belonging, and academic success.

RISE will consist of 26 new students and will be engaging as a cohort throughout the academic year 2023-24. Students will have access to two mentors, GSIE administrators, and staff throughout the year for added support. The program has four pillars: Professional Development, Community Engagement, Academics, and Wellness.    

Pillars of RISE

RISE will complement student activities and work within the parameters of their schedule. This program is formulated to build community amongst Graduate Students, and the RISE mentors will help identify needs and support mechanisms individually. Students are encouraged to attend activities together and inspire their colleagues to engage both on and off campus.

Professional Development

As part of the original graduate student success foundational themes, paraprofessional is an essential category for the GSIE vision to make students think beyond their degree. Students need to understand the transformational value statement of being industry ready, which starts from day one at GSIE. The bridge between academia and industry requires a thorough understanding of value added for the student and upskilling for the institution. GSIE wants to build a resilient student who is agile to changing economic, environmental, and development challenges.  

  • Professional development workshops, career fairs, and corporate site visits

Community Engagement

Engagement is one of six foundational themes for student success and support within GSIE. We want to capture an understanding that high-touch services lead to better outcomes. We also wish for the mindset of our graduate students to be lifelong learners, and GSIE is a one-stop shop for planning, implementation, and upskilling. As with paraprofessionals, engagement must be in genuine interaction rather than a transaction. We must bring the community into the anchor institution and embed it within the curriculum and beyond.

  • Co-op, Museums, Social mixers, student organizations


An essential aspect of a graduate student is learning about services and resources within the university and beyond. We want our RISE students to be leaders within GSIE and know and understand all facilitations available for their success. The focus within this category will be on the most pressing needs of our RISE students, and we will take a workshop approach. Another aspect is nurturing relationships within the department and other professional settings. GSIE will assemble a leadership consortium to connect, engage, and help facilitate RISE student growth and nurturing.

  • Writing workshops, publishing workshops, social capital workshops


Being physically and emotionally fit is critical for a successful graduate student, and at UofA, we encourage students to participate in activities throughout the year. For physical activities, we have teamed up with HPER to facilitate individual and group activities, including indoor and outdoor including trail walks/bikes. GSIE has also teamed up with UofA Cares and CAPS to facilitate best practices regarding the emotional support of our students. We will undertake workshops that our RISE students will go through on managing stress and having a balanced approach to student life at the University of Arkansas.

  • UofA Cares workshops, Walking Tours, Trails, HPER

What's Included?

  • There is no cost for participants selected to join the institute.
  • Yearlong individualized engagement plan and access to RISE Mentors and GSIE staff/administrators. 

  • All costs associated with program activities including transportation are covered for RISE students. 

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 2023. 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. 

A complete application packet will include:

  1. Complete the application online.
  2.   GSIE team member will contact you for in-person interview which will be held September 12-29, 2023.
  3. Email annoucement for #23RISE cohort will go out on September 27, 2023.

Applications must be submitted by September 25, 2023 (Deadline Extended).


Applications are reviewed by committee members and a decision is made only after an in-person interview. No decision is made in advance on application alone. 


For additional information about RISE or the graduate school, please contact the Office of Graduate Student Support at 479-387-3841 or gradsupport@uark.edu.

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