Annual Summary

What a year. 2020 challenged each of us in many ways; disrupting much of what we take for granted. The year was particularly arduous for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) folks as demonstrations and protests around the world reminded us of the inequities we navigate everyday. Transitioning to an online world when the need for community was so high created opportunities for innovation and an opportunity for our scholars to once again demonstrate their resilience.

The President's Emerging Scholars (PES) team found ways to connect students via virtual events, phone calls, emails, and mailing placards for graduates to hang in their windows. The popular Summer Seminar moved online with success and a high level of student satisfaction, and coaching skills were infused into peer mentors' work with first and second-year students. PES also partnered with the University community to create emergency funding for students in need. College colleagues continued to advise students through the many unknowns and they added a number of new supports in addition to remote versions of popular initiatives such as affinity groups and first-year experience courses. Most importantly, professional staff, student staff, and student participants worked together to provide grace, support, and humor for one another. 

Students in the PES Program unsurprisingly met the challenges of the year head on. They adapted to online classes and many persevered through a first-year experience that was anything but what they had expected. Student retention rates remain high and we look forward to spring graduation, among many things that a new year may bring. Together we remain hopeful and optimistic that we all will continue to move forward and find peace in 2021. 

Peer Mentor Meetings

Students meet with their peer mentors at least 2 times per semester during their first and second years. Mentors build relationships with and coach students on their wellbeing, goals, and action plans for college. From September to December 2020, peer mentors completed 1,430 one-on-one meetings.

"I'm sure that they know this, but I really appreciate having a peer mentor and friend. It's honestly been really helpful in getting through college. I wouldn't have imagined a peer mentor to be as caring and personal as they are but sometimes I think that if I had not been a part of PES and had not had them as my peer mentor I don't know if I could have kept moving forward with college... I know... a little extreme... but truly having a peer mentor that's dedicated like them is life changing and appreciated greatly."

- PES Student

"My peer mentor listens very well and is very sympathetic. They talk me through a lot of my problems and always offer to try to help. My peer mentor is also very resourceful about campus resources and encourages me very much to try to get into different communities or try reaching out to the different resources they recommended."

- PES Student

"My peer mentor always listens to me, and as someone who talks a lot, the pandemic has taken away my form of communication so having them listen to me whether it be academic or personal has been beneficial to me."

- PES Student

Coaching Skills Training Program

In collaboration with CAPE and the Coordinator for the Coaching Skills Training Program (CSTP), CSTP's curriculum is now embedded in peer mentoring, training, and continuing education.

Virtual Summer Seminar

Due to COVID-19, the seminar shifted to a 3-day virtual digital storytelling workshop and a 2-day college readiness days.

54 first-year students participated and created a digital story. Additionally, over 140 students attended the college readiness days. The space was dedicated to topics on student leadership, mental health, and financial wellness.

More about the seminar

"My favorite part about Summer Seminar was probably hearing others' stories. Because it was nice to get to know each other through a deeper level than most interactions."


"I learned that being a college student doesn’t mean that you have to do everything on your own. You should always seek the help of others when you need it and not be scared to ask questions when you’re lost. All the things I learned about financial wellness will be a great help to start my journey at the U. Also the recommendations of study areas we got will be greatly used."


"I just want to say thank you for the opportunity to virtually attend Summer Seminar. It meant a lot more to me than I thought it would and I greatly appreciated the experience. Overall, PES is super welcoming and can’t wait for what is offered next."


Expand all


Since 2013, more than 4,000 students have received a first-year PES Scholarship of $1,000 per student.


Since 2013, 1,961 students have received their second PES Scholarship.


Since 2017, 93 students have received a Fund the Gap Scholarship from the Learning Abroad Center to study abroad for a full semester.


Since 2016, 66 students have received a PES Engagement Scholarship to participate in unpaid internships, research experiences, HECUA, National Student Exchange, or learning abroad.


PES awarded more than $26,000 in emergency funds to support PES students who were negatively impacted by COVID-19.


To date, 14 students have received a Stampede for Scholarship award for a total of $5,500.

"The PES engagement scholarship has helped release me from financial stress I would have been taking on by participating in Germany Renewables Revolution (state delegation). The trip came up last minute for me and was added to my plans and financially was difficult to fit in. However, this scholarship has made it possible and less stressful. During this trip, I have met with state legislators of North Rhine Westphalia and companies occupying the region who are leaders in renewable technology."

- PES Engagement Scholarshp Recipient 

"Before traveling to Ghana, I had a lot of financial worries. It is scary to go to another country and not have a way to pay for it. I almost didn’t apply because I was not confident that I would get any scholarships. Although I still had to take out loans, the amount I needed to take out decreased due to receiving the PES Engagement Scholarship."

- PES Engagement Scholarshp Recipient 

Expand all

College of Liberal Arts (CLA)

Staff Updates:

CLA PES will be hiring an Assistant Director.

Course Updates: 

All CLA PES students enroll in two courses during their first year: CLA 1005: Introduction to Liberal Arts Learning in the fall semester and CLA 2005: Global Inequality and Transformative Citizenship in the spring. Next academic year, the now two-credit class will change to one. In both courses, students are able to engage in meaningful conversations with guest speakers.

College of Education and Human Development (CEHD)

Staff Updates: 

In November 2020, Consuelo Gutierrez-Crosby joined CEHD as their PES Program Coordinator and Assistant Director for TRIO SSS. Prior to working for the University of Minnesota, Consuelo spent four years leading a national philanthropic initiative increasing women’s knowledge, capacity, and resources to impact change. More recently, she spent a year building collaboration across four racial and culturally specific leadership organizations to advance racial justice and equity.

Course Updates: 

EDHD 1701: Identity, Culture, and College Success for PES students transitioned to a full semester course. Twenty-five students enrolled, 24 completed with a C- or better, and 23 students returned for spring 2021. More sections of the course are being added for fall 2021.

TRIO Student Support Services

Staff Updates: 

  • In November 2020, Consuelo Gutierrez-Crosby joined TRIO SSS as their Assistant Director and PES Program Coordinator.
  • In fall 2020, the department partnered with the Rev. Dr. MLK, Jr. Program in CLA to deliver a wide variety of racial and social justice education for students and staff.

Course Updates: 

  • Five sections of EDHD 1701: Identity, Culture, and College Success were offered for all first-year TRIO SSS students in fall 2020. Students' satisfaction with the overall experience in this class ranged from 4.3-4.6 (on a scale of 1-5).
  • Five sections of EDHD 1620: Integrated Learning for biology, chemistry, and psychology courses were offered in both the fall and spring semesters.

Student Success Updates:

  • Outreach to students was adapted to address barriers caused by the pandemic (e.g., advisors called and texted students to perform wellness checks).
  • Participated in campus-wide retention/student success committee.
  • Revamped summer orientation and onboarding processes to be fully online; oriented and registered approximately 150 new students.
  • Coordinated students attending the virtual National Conference on Student Leadership in fall 2020.
  • Revamped and relaunched the TRIO SSS Student Board.
  • Continued offering a Living Learning Community (LLC) for 2020-2021 in Sanford Hall.
  • Hosted TRIO Affinity Group (TAG) meetings online and continued offering them throughout the school year.
  • Established and distributed monthly scholarship and internship catalogs, highlighting scholarships and internships available to students, their requirements, and how to apply.

Program Highlights: 

  • Distributed over $80,000 in grant aid funds to eligible first- and second-year TRIO SSS students.
  • Met all federal performance objectives for the 2020 Federal Annual Performance Report.
  • Successfully secured grant renewal funding, bringing in over $2 million for years 2021-2026.
  • Continue to offer virtual programming (e.g., work-study and campus jobs, scholarship essay writing, graduate school prep, pre-registration planning, voter education and registration, CARES Act).

College of Biological Science (CBS)

Course Updates: 

PES students in the College of Biological Sciences were engaged and fully participated in their Dean's Scholar Program curriculum. Dean's Scholars is a unique program designed to support CBS students in building their leadership skills and preparing them to be active citizens and change-makers in their chosen professions and communities after graduation. Students are invited to participate in the program based on demonstrated leadership potential and a commitment to service based on University application materials.

College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS)

Course Updates:

CFAN 1102: PES Seminar was relaunched and rebranded. This seminar helps CFANS PES students transition from high school to college by focusing on community-building and navigating the University, campus resources, and college life.

New Initiative: 

Beginning in fall 2020, CFANS and CSE began collaborating on tutoring for STEM courses.

College of Design (CDes)

Staff Updates:

Two PES alumni work directly with College of Design students:

  • Adalia Samuel works in the college as an Academic Advisor.
  • Dom Johnson works as the Freshman Admissions Counselor for the college.
  • One of six academic advisors has completed the Coaching Skills Training Program (CSTP).

College of Science and Engineering (CSE)

Student Success:

  • Partnered with SMART Learning Commons and CFANS to provide one-on-one STEM tutoring.
  • Launched the BIPOC Voices in STEM Speaker Series and virtual game nights (e.g., Jackbox Games, Among Us).

Carlson School of Management (CSOM)

During the fall semester, all incoming students met with their THRIVE Peer Mentors and attended at least two events!

Student Success:

  • The Carlson Conversations: Diversity Event was held in partnership with the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA) and the Business Association of Multicultural Students (BAM).
  • Attendance and participation at all virtual events has been excellent!


  • All PES student-athletes participated in the annual career readiness event known as Gopher Pro Day.
  • All PES student-athletes went through risk reduction and bystander education with Dr. Alan Berkowitz.
  • All first-year PES student-athletes are supported with tutoring services provided by the Lindahl Academic Center.

Each semester, the PES retention team collaborates with college advisors to promote the retention of PES students. 

240 students were individually contacted from June to September 2020 and 164 students registered after the retention outreach was complete. A similar process is planned for Spring 2021.

Cohort Year

Cohort size

4-yr grad rate

6-yr grad rate


















The PES Student Board builds community among PES students and offers unique professional and personal development opportunities including: Trivia Night, Alumni Series, Color the Streets, and hosted bi-weekly events in Fall 2020 to promote campus resources while building community.