Frequently Asked Questions

  • What am I expected to do? Mentors are expected to provide their mentee with about one hour of support and interaction per month. Most of this interaction will take place via email and other web-related tools (for example, instant messaging) or face-to-face, as appropriate. Mentors should work with their mentee to determine what kind of support will be most useful—information on STEM career paths, advice related to finding jobs, general career advice, personal encouragement, insights on completing a STEM degree, and so on.
  • How long will the commitment be? We ask our mentors to make commitments of at least three months in order to ensure that the mentee is able to fully benefit from the relationship. If a mentor must leave the relationship early, we request as much notice as possible in order to search for a replacement mentor who is a  good match for your mentee.
  • Are there any potential risks to me or my company? No. It is not appropriate for mentors to engage in any business transactions with their mentees; instead, the relationship should only involve the flow of general information and advice.
  • What should I do if my mentoring relationship isn't going well?​ We encourage letting the mentee know about the situation and contacting a program administrator as soon as possible. We will provide our full support to resolve the situation in a positive and satisfactory manner.

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Mentor DO's

  1. Commit at least an hour of support per month.  This could be in a single session or across several interactions.
  2. Set aside time for the mentoring process and honor all appointments.
  3. Invite the mentee to meetings or activities, as appropriate. Schedule meetings with planned topics.
  4. Be flexible on meeting times and places.
  5. Arrange frequent contacts through telephone, email, or face-to-face, as appropriate.
  6. Respond to emails from your mentee within two days of receipt.
  7. Keep information that your mentee has shared with you confidential. If something concerning the mentee needs to be discussed with others, you should first seek your mentee's permission to do this.
  8. Establish open and honest communication and a forum for idea exchange.
  9. Foster creativity and independence. Help build self-confidence and offer encouragement.
  10. Provide honest and timely feedback to your mentee.
  11. Provide opportunities for the mentee to talk about concerns and ask questions.
  12. Above all, LISTEN.

Mentor DON'Ts

  1. Try to give advice on everything.
  2. Encourage mentee to be totally dependent upon you.
  3. Provide your personal history, problems, animosities, successes, or failures, unless they are constructive contributions.
  4. Be too busy when the mentee needs your friendship or your support. If you do not have time, give the mentee a heads up, so that they know when they can reach you.
  5. Criticize.