What is Plexus?
The word “plexus” is taken from the Latin plectere, which means to weave or braid and is literally a network of interwoven parts. At Juniata, Plexus is the umbrella that overarches the Plexus Inbound group, Plexus RSO (registered student organization) and the Plexus Fellowship Program. As a whole, Plexus is a physical support network of peer mentors, staff and faculty with whom our Plexans interact with in order to assist with transition to the Juniata community and the development of emotional intelligence and strong leadership skills.
What is the Plexus Fellowship Program?
The Plexus Fellowship is JC’s structured, peer-to-peer mentoring program run through the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, which offers support for traditionally underrepresented students. The Fellowship is guided by an intentional goal to motivate and assist students toward achieving academic and social success.
Mentoring is a learning partnership that allows both the mentor and mentee to cultivate a healthy friendship, become critical thinkers, foster strong leadership and communication skills and develop the insight to make this college experience their own, rewarding journey.
Short-term outcomes include a strong mentoring relationship which will allow students to navigate the often confusing and intimidating world of college life. This relationship will grant students greater knowledge of and access to resources available on campus that will help them realize their full potential. Furthermore, we feel these efforts will enhance retention and graduation rates for student success.
In its essence, the Juniata College Plexus Fellowship program challenges our peers to develop skills to achieve success by promoting self-advocacy, self-empowerment and self-care through partnership, participation and persistence.
What Do We Do?
All participants in the Plexus Fellowship program are required to engage in several in-house activities, as well as campus-wide events. These include:
-Inbound: (though strongly encouraged, it is not mandatory to be in the Plexus Inbound)
-Retreats: Mentors and mentees have (1) weekend/overnight team-building retreat per semester at an off-campus location.
-Workshops: Faculty and staff from various departments and on-campus resourceful services conduct sessions focused on academic readiness, career exploration, civic engagement, finances, leadership development, service learning and holistic wellness. Past topics have included goal setting, personal financial management, time management and study skills, conflict resolution, resume building, public speaking & presentations and stress management.
-Outings: 1-2 times per month, both mentors and mentees can participate in activities that serve as opportunities to enhance the bond amongst the group. This may include Movies & Munchies night, Halloween pumpkin carving, glow-in-the-dark bowling, dinner with President Troha, snow tubing or lunch at an ethnic cuisine restaurant in State College.
-One-on-Ones: Mentors meet with their respective mentee for a minimum of 1 hour per week, or up to 5 hours per month, outside of scheduled workshops and outings.
Becoming a Mentee
Based on recommendations from Enrollment counselors, The Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) invites incoming freshmen to participate in the Fellowship.
Initial criteria for immersion into the program include, but are not limited to, being an individual who is:
First-generation college student
Pell grant eligible
Additional considerations include:
MALANA (Multiracial, African descent/black, Latino, Asian, Native American)
Permanent residence outside of Pennsylvania
Large, urban hometown
GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender)
Students with disabilities
Who Are Our Mentors?
Plexus Fellowship mentors are upperclass students who exemplify what it means to be a Juniata Eagle – someone who is interdisciplinary, knowledgeable, engaged, ethical and multicultural. Mentors are selected through an application, recommendation and interview process. Our mentors are active and engaged in the Juniata community and have a desire to lend a comforting, helping hand to first year students as they transition and adjust academically and informally, in their social circles outside of the classroom.
Mentors participate in trainings that focus on their role in developing a relationship with the mentee, the art of appreciative inquiry, mindful empathy and active constructive responding. Plexus mentors are paid through federal work study.
Interested in Applying to be a Mentor?
Please contact the Diversity and Inclusion Office for more information about applying.
Want to Join?!
If you are an incoming first-year student who is interested in becoming a Plexan/Plexus mentee, please speak with your Juniata enrollment counselor.
To learn more information, please contact the Plexus Program Coordinator:
Skukura A. Woods
Office of Diversity and Inclusion
Office: (814) 641-3125