Graduate School of Medical Sciences
A partnership with the Sloan Kettering Institute

The Esprit de Corps Program

Esprit de Corps literally means "spirit of the group". If you've ever been on a sports team that had great morale and team spirit, you've experienced esprit de corps. It is a shared spirit of camaraderie, enthusiasm, and devotion to a cause among the members of a group.

The Esprit de Corps Program is a mentorship program for 1st year PhD students from diverse backgrounds (racial and ethnic, 1st generation, LGBTQ+, disadvantaged, and/or with disabilities). Older student mentors (year 2+) help 1st year PhD students navigate graduate school during their first year, while building community among our diverse cohort of students.


All members: 

  • Receive specialized mentorship on navigating graduate school from trained coaches (current students and postdocs).
  • Build community among a cohort of diverse students.
  • Find the support and resources necessary to propel your academic and scientific career forward.



  • Strategies for Success: Navigating Your 1st Year
  • How to Choose a Lab
  • Career Self-awareness: Skills, Values, and Reflection
  • The Power of the Group Spirit
  • 10 things I wish I knew/did to be more strategic in Graduate School
  • Handling Tricky Situations with Your Mentor
  • Financial Literacy (with personal advisement)

Esprit de Corps Workshop 2018

EdC Peer Mentor Reflections
Esprit de Corps Session 2022

*Seminars are open to all students

Near Peer-Mentors

Members are matched with PhD student or postdoc mentors known as near Peer-Mentors. As part of their mentoring portfolio, near Peer-Mentors go through a training session where they actively participate in workshops involving communication, stereotype threat, and community cultural wealth. With these tools, plus their sharing perosnal insights that are focused on lessons learned - near Peer-Mentors help Esprit de Corps members successfully navigate the first year of their PhD. Mentor-mentee pairs meet monthly.

Touching Base
Group Think - Near Peer-Mentors 2022


Esprit de Corps is centered on a supportive community.  Community is developed through activities that foster collaboration and facilitate interaction. These activities include regular social events sponsored by the Office of Student Diversity, peer mentoring, and a retreat that integrates members into the larger tri-institutional community.

EdC 2018
Esprit de Corps Outing


To join the Esprit de Corps Program as a mentee

  • You must be an incoming 1st year PhD student at Weill Cornell Graduate School, the Tri-Institutional Chemical Biology or Computational Biology Program 
  • Be committed to diversity in science and medicine
  • Attend the professional and career development sessions throughout the year 
  • Meet monthly with your near Peer-Mentor
  • Be committed to mentoring future cohorts

To join as a Esprit de Corps Program as a near Peer-Mentor:

  • You must have successfully completed your first year of graduate training
  • Attend the Peer-mentor Training Session offered early in the Fall Semester
  • Attend  the Esprit de Corps Meet your Match session 
  • Join Esprit de Corps community-building activities 
  • Meet with your mentee on a monthly basis 

EdC_Meet your Match
Meet your Match Session 2022

To Join Esprit de Corps

As a mentee:

All Weill Cornell Graduate School and Tri-Institutional 1st year PhD students are invited to join via email early in the summer.  Space is limited, but we do our best to try to accommodate as many participants as possible. 

If you cannot find or did not receive this invitation, you can apply here

As a near Peer-Mentor

If you would like to join as a near peer-mentor, you can apply: here

If you have any questions - reach out at wcgsdiversity&

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