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Academic Initiative

Project Knowledge

  • Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)

Program Overview

  • Project Knowledge is a non academic, academic program focused on making students aware of their potential. We use mentorship to help foster community, self-agency, and identity for local high school students. If you love the idea of giving back to the community and working with youth, this is a great program for you.


  • Mentors will receive a stipend in the summer and both semesters, incentives such as paid activities (bowling, movies, dinner, etc.), the chance to win cool prizes (gift cards, iPads, AirPods, etc.), and the opportunity to travel outside of the local Petersburg area for free.

Program Contact

  • Cheryl Talley
  • knowledgevsu@gmail.com


  • Northeast
  • 1 Hayden Dr, Petersburg, VA 23806, USA

Type Of Program


  • Collegiate

  • Pre-Collegiate


  • STEM




Research, Roles & Responsibilities

Research Components

  • Mentor honorarium/stipend

  • Other

  • Stipend/compensation

Identity & Inclusion

  • The primary goal of Project Knowledge is to help students become aware of their own potential. Our activities allow students to explore their goals in a future oriented way and help students remove personal barriers to success. Most importantly, our program activities focus on fostering positive mindsets that ultimately change behaviors.
  • Our participants have access to our clinical director, a clinical psychologist, who helps them navigate personal obstacles in a meaningful way.

Diversity Groups (Social Identity)

  • Age

  • First-Generation

  • Race-Ethnicity

  • Socioeconomic Status (E.G. Low-Income)

Race/Ethnic Minority Group

  • African American/Black

Inclusionary Practices/Activities

  • Creation Of A Safe Space/ Climate/Environment


  • Our program is based on the foundations of community based participatory research. In the beginning of the program we ask students, parents, teachers, and school administration what they need and expect from a mentor for themselves and their students. In doing this, we can ensure our program is shaped through the voice of those effected most by it and meets research and community targets/goals.

Mentoring Components

  • Mentees Are Allowed To Attend Events With Mentors (I.E. Dinners, Social Events, Conferences, Retreats)

  • Mentor Recognizes The Value Of Mentee

    (I.E. Co-Authorship, Graduate School/Employment References)

  • Mentors Are Peers Of Program Participants (Near-Peer, Tiered Peer, Etc.)

  • Mentors Provide Psychological And Or Emotional Support

  • Mentors Provide Regular Scheduled Meetings With Mentees

  • Mentors Provide Support With Academic Or Discipline Specific Knowledge Through Direct Teaching

  • Mentors Provide Support With Goal Setting And Or Career Planning

Empowering Activities

  • Institutional Alliances

  • Publication Opportunities

Past Participant Decision Making

  • Other


  • N/A

Evaluation Methods

  • External Review/Evaluation

  • Program Survey(s)

Anticipated Outcomes

  • Attendance

  • Increasing academic skill area(s)

  • Moving to the next level of the pipeline

Key Performance Indicators

Attendance in class, meeting with mentees, increase in grades, increase in adaptive affective factors related to academic behaviors.

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