Presentation #316.01 in the session Astronomy and Astronomy Education in New Mexico.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, undergraduate and graduate students alike experienced newfound levels of isolation, stress, and burnout. Retention rates for the undergraduate physics and astronomy program at the University of New Mexico, particularly among underrepresented minority groups, reflected this. In order to promote better learning conditions for undergraduate physics and astronomy students, a peer mentor program (Peer Undergraduate Mentorship Program, or PUMP) was established in which a graduate student was connected with 2-4 undergraduates, with biweekly meetings centered around topics relevant to undergraduate stressors. A group with an additional focus on graduate school preparation was also formed. We discuss the methods used for engagement, the preliminary results of this program, and future plans to boost engagement with such a program.