Pathways participants collaborating at a table

The Pathways Project is a Graduate School initiative for inclusive excellence for students, faculty, and staff designed to foster equity and mentoring in graduate education at Ball State University. The Pathways Project features three distinct programs, which center and support students from marginalized backgrounds (e.g., domestic Students of Color, LGBTQIA2S+ students, students with disabilities, low-income students, student veterans, students with dependents, etc.).

The three programs are:

  • The Pathways Mentoring Program - for undergraduate and graduate students interested in collaborating with a faculty/staff mentor.
  • The Pathways Undergraduate Research Fellowship- for undergraduate students interested in research and scholarly experiences through the support of a faculty mentor.
  • The Action Research Collective - for graduate students interested in conducting research.

Ultimately, The Pathways Project aims to cultivate inclusive excellence by supporting marginalized students as they pursue and complete post-baccalaureate degrees. Learn more about programs within The Pathways Project below.


To apply as a mentor or mentee, complete the online Pathways Mentor & Mentee application. Faculty interested in referring a student may direct them to complete the same application or can send the referral by email to Pathways program coordinators.

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Pathways Mentoring Program

Pathways Mentoring Program

Pathways is a mentoring program that supports undergraduate and graduate students from marginalized backgrounds as they pursue graduate education and beyond. Watch a video regarding our program on YouTube. The Pathways program includes the following features:

  • Mentoring Partnerships
  • Community-building Gatherings
  • University-sponsored Professional Development Programming
  • Small Grant Funding

Learn more about mentorship

Pathways Undergraduate Research Fellowship

The Pathways Undergraduate Research Fellowship at Ball State University is designed to provide undergraduate Pathways students with research and scholarly experiences through the support of a faculty mentor who will allow them to gain additional skills and accomplishments to enhance their applications for post-baccalaureate graduate and professional programs. Students who are interested in the fellowship should review the requirements and complete the application here.

Action Research Collective (ARC)

The Action Research Collective (ARC) centers the knowledge, creativity, and expertise of graduate student leaders to produce information needed to advance support and success for graduate students from marginalized backgrounds at Ball State University. Foremost, this initiative aims to expand professional development opportunities for underrepresented and marginalized graduate students and demystify the graduate school pipeline. 

Throughout the academic year, the team of ARC research partners, across various graduate programs at Ball State University, will meet bi-weekly to design and execute a research study while gaining vital experience conducting research to transform Ball State's climate. 

Supported by the Graduate School and guided by Dr. Robin Phelps-Ward, Faculty Fellow for Inclusive Excellence and Assistant Professor of Higher Education, ARC is a space for graduate students to confidently engage in critical scholarly inquiry while building a sense of belonging on campus through professional development opportunities and mentorship. ARC meets bi-weekly based on a schedule mutually agreed upon by team members. 


Additional Resources

The Graduate Student Wellness Initiative helps centralize resources and hosts wellness events for the Graduate School community. See what resources are available to you.

Program Coordinators

Dr. Scarlett Hester

Dr. Scarlett Hester (she/her/hers) is an Assistant Professor of Communication Studies and serves as the new Faculty Fellow for Inclusive Excellence in the Graduate School. Dr. Hester earned her PhD from the University of Memphis in Rhetoric and Media Studies. Her research is situated within the intersections of critical rhetoric and media studies, emphasizing critical race, whiteness, sport and surveillance, gender, and sexuality. As a critical scholar, her research centers on important cultural work that combines notions of the body with race, gender, and sexuality as a means to critique structural power and inequality, specifically within professional sports culture.


Cheyanne Wims

Cheyanne Wims (she/her/hers) is a master’s student in the accelerated Social Work program at Ball State University. On May 7th, 2022, Cheyanne graduated with her bachelor's degree in Social Work with minors in African American studies and Interpersonal Relations (Counseling).

Cheyanne joined Pathways first semester sophomore year (2019), which was the same year she changed her major to social work. This will be her first year serving as a Pathways graduate assistant. Upon graduation from her master’s program, as a short-term goal she would like to be a medical social worker and in the long-term a therapist and adjunct professor.

Kayla Thompson

Kayla Thompson (she/her/hers) is a master's student in the Quantitative Psychology program at Ball State University. She is a 2021 graduate of Howard University, earning her bachelor's degree in Psychology with a minor in Allied Sciences.

Kayla is interested in exploring how quantitative research can lead to equitable learning experiences and assessments for students. She hopes to pursue a doctoral degree after completing her program at Ball State.