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Your Mentoring Guide


Your Mentoring Guide


Let's get started

Let's get started

Before you Mentor

Before you Mentor


1. Think about your own experiences + Expertise

What do you want to share with students?

The expertise description in your mentor profile is the only thing students see when deciding which mentor to request into their project.  This is in part how students will get to know you, so please take time to fill this out thoughtfully.

Share information in your mentor profile about your work and personal interests. How did you get to be where you are now? What is your favorite music, sports team, or app?

2. Set expectations

Once matched, communicate with teacher & student about when the project is due, times when they might need more communication, your scheduling limitations, and what important milestones you can help reach.   Ask your student about project guidelines set by their teacher. What are they trying to accomplish and how can you best help?

Scheduling dates up front for videoconferencing or check-ins will help you and your student to keep on track. We recommend video conferencing at the very beginning of the project to get to know your student and encourage accountability.


3. Consider constraints

Ask about time and resources students have to dedicate to this project.

Help them think beyond a typical project to look for new methods and ideas.

Students may have differing levels of familiarity and ability. Guide the students’ interests to develop a testable question.

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Mentoring Strategies

Mentoring Strategies


1. challenge effectively. support effectively.

Guide students and ask questions.  Don't spoon feed answers.

"Great question.  Let's try to see why you're asking and what you're thinking"

Encourage them to think about next steps.  

"You didn't get the results you wanted, but let's look at the results you found"

Don't shoot down ideas - help think through how they can refine it.

Treat students like direct reports.  Don't underestimate their resourcefulness.

This will propel students forward.


2. be proactive

Take an active role as a mentor - don't wait for students to reach out. MME projects are student led, but mentors should feel empowered to reach out to students with questions or to ask for project updates.

Work to maintain the relationship.  For many students, this is their first time interacting with individuals outside of their community.

Accountability to the timeline - advise when to pivot from researching to communication of results and building a strong presentation.

Students want constructive criticism. Send specific questions related to the project, not just "how's it going".  

Alert your students if you will be unable to communicate for any reason - vacation, work retreat, etc.

Mentors can help set the pace of the conversation.  


3. you have a team behind you

When you have questions, comments, or need some help, there is a strong network here to support you!

Reach out to the ISTI team - contact us about pretty much anything.  We value your commitment and will help troubleshoot any issues.

Mentors - Consider bringing another mentor into your project.  If the student project pivots beyond your area of expertise, invite colleagues or ask ISTI to find other mentors on the Mentor Matching Engine. Mentor collaboration can address questions outside your skill set or help with the workload.

Teacher - If your student isn't active, contact the teachers.  On the "Participants" tab in the project, click the envelope to send a direct message.

Students - Ask students for feedback - what are they looking for in terms of the mentoring relationship or project feedback.


Beyond the Project

Beyond the Project


1. preparing the next generation of professionals

Go beyond STEM skills - coach in time management, teamwork, meeting deadlines, and making decisions.

Share your trajectory - how you got there, what you've learned or what you wish someone told you.

Students are learning to communicate. Model professional communication and tell them how they can improve.

Show how you approach problems.

Provide students with tools to succeed beyond the classroom.


2. Consider the future

Get to know your students.

What are their goals for the future? Help them reach. 

Encourage career exploration. Show them the steps to get there.

A student interested in healthcare might only think about being a nurse or doctor. Help expand their horizons to the many careers in your field.

Find opportunities to keep in touch. For example, internships, letters of recommendation, or a new project collaboration.