Graduate College

Students in lab

Shades Multicultural Peer Mentoring Program

Shades is a Multicultural Peer Mentoring Program highly recommended by ASU Graduate College. ASU students of all backgrounds have joined Shades, creating a truly interdisciplinary assembly of scholars that promotes professional development and encourages networking within the ASU community. Interested students will be matched and mentored by their peers (graduate and undergraduates) from the same or similar programs of study.

Any ASU student or postdoc scholar who is interested in peer mentorship and wants to provide or receive support in multicultural and academic issues should consider Shades and complete the on-line application.

Become a Shades member today by completing the online application.  Learn more about the peer mentoring process by reviewing the Shades orientation (PDF).

Member benefits

  • Shades members are invited to attend all Shades events and informed about ASU seminars and events that are of interest to Shades members. These events give Shades members the opportunity to strengthen their peer mentoring relationship by attending together.
  • All Shades members are included on our ASU Shades Blackboard Organization and are invited to join our Facebook page—which will keep you apprised of additional tools, resources and special events. Shades Members’ contributions to Blackboard and Facebook discussions, panels and seminars are beneficial to everyone and are strongly encouraged and welcomed.
  • Shades members complete an on-line training orientation and receive a Shades Member Training Certificate from the Graduate College upon completion. The Shades Peer Mentor on-line training orientation will introduce members to the program expectations.

Q & A

Q: How does the Shades program work?
A: The program does not replace formal academic advising, but rather enhances support and information on multicultural issues affecting the students today. Shades is inclusive—bringing together students from all majors—with a focus on underrepresented student participation and academic and social networking. There is a strong emphasis on the "multicultural" participation amongst the Shades members, which is reflective of our ever-changing university, nation, and global society. As one of the largest institutions of higher learning in the country, ASU is committed to increasing and supporting the diversity of ethnic and cultural groups among graduate students. The Shades program will provide a network to assist students as they navigate the university system and achieve their educational goals.

Q: Who can join Shades?
A: Any ASU student or postdoc scholar interested in…

  • mentorship from peers within the same area of study
  • providing and receiving support and insight in regards to multicultural and academic issues
  • building a strong network within the ASU community
  • professional development opportunities

Q: Why Should I get involved in Shades?
A: You should get involved to...

  • get connected with other scholars in your field by networking within the ASU community
  • be a source of support and information regarding multicultural issues affecting students in your programs of study
  • receive the tools and guidance in navigating the university system to achieve your educational goals
  • attend special events specifically designed and organized for Shades members

Q: How much of a time commitment is Shades?
A: It is completely up to you. As a Shades member we encourage you to participate in the events that meet your needs and interests. Members that are matched should be checking in with one another at least twice per month. This can be done face-to-face, by email, or phone.

Q: When can I start? 
A: You can get involved with Shades at any time by filling out an online application.  Members can start taking advantage of all the great Shades events immediately.

Shades history

Shades is a peer mentor program originally designed for underrepresented students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).  Shades is the design of ASU alumna Sydella Blatch, PhD.  Dr. Blatch was a doctoral candidate in the ASU School of Life Sciences, a graduate of the Preparing Future Faculty Program and a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow at the time she proposed and obtained funding for Shades,

Shades participants are mentors for each other, forming a network of support and information exchange. "One thing that we can do on a small scale is to increase the amount of information and exposure underrepresented people receive," says Blatch. "And there are some things that just go over better when coming from a peer."

Shades expanded to all majors to help prepare scholars to be future educators, designers, artists, clinicians, practitioners, etc.

Contact information

The Shades team is always available in Graduate College's Student Support Program office, INTDSB 285. The Shades team may assist with questions, concerns and support of the Shades members.

Contact electronically at or by phone at 480-965-5990

The Shades Multicultural Peer Mentoring program received a 2012 “Excellence in Diversity” award from Arizona State University’s Campus Environment Team (CET). As an advisory group to the Provost, CET recognizes academic professionals, classified staff, faculty, service professionals, administrators and student members of the ASU community who promote a campus-wide appreciation of diversity and respect for all individuals. Shades continues to be a model of ASU’s successful mentorship program.