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### Graduate Student Trippe Finds New Calling as RISE Mentor

March 13, 2024

Cassandra Thomas

Karis Trippe

Graduate and international education revolves around exploration — the pursuit of knowledge, research, and creative endeavors that enhance lives, as well as the immersion in diverse countries, cultures, and communities. The Graduate School and International Education proudly acknowledges the contributions of our students, faculty, and staff in fostering these discoveries at the U of A.

Since her youth, Karis Trippe had adamantly rejected her father’s prediction that she would become a teacher. However, her perspective shifted upon entering graduate school at the U of A.

Having served as a mentor for new graduate students at the university, this doctoral student in electrical engineering has unearthed a newfound passion for supporting others, reshaping her professional trajectory.

“I derive immense satisfaction from guiding someone’s learning journey, especially in an environment where I feel at ease and can help others feel the same,” she expressed. “This experience has led me to contemplate the prospect of pursuing a career as a professor.”

Trippe serves as a mentor in the program offered by the Graduate School and International Education, which aims to facilitate the transition to graduate school, particularly for first-generation graduate students. In this role, Trippe engages in individual sessions with program participants and assists in organizing events for the RISE community.

“Personal mentoring involves addressing the common queries that arise when starting graduate school, offering guidance to students who may not know where to turn,” Trippe explained. “I may not have all the answers, but I strive to steer them in the right direction.”

At times, her role involves providing a listening ear for graduate students. She recounted interactions with an international student grappling with visa issues for his family’s relocation to the U.S.

“While I couldn’t intervene in the visa process, the student found solace in having someone to talk to — not necessarily to solve the problem, but to provide a supportive presence,” Trippe shared.

Reflecting on her undergraduate experience at John Brown University, Trippe recognized the value of a robust undergraduate community. She viewed mentoring at the U of A as an opportunity to support a demographic that is often misunderstood and lacks a sense of camaraderie among peers.

“I believe that graduate students sometimes slip through the cracks,” she remarked. “There’s an assumption that they are more self-sufficient than undergraduates. However, many graduate students are seeking a sense of belonging and actively searching for community.”

She added, “The camaraderie within my research lab is exceptional. We not only work closely together but also socialize outside of work. I aimed to foster a similar sense of community at the graduate school level.”

For further details on the RISE Program, please visit RISE Program Link.