Qualities of a Student
The Mentor Matching Engine exists in order to connect students to STEM professionals who volunteer to participate in student research experiences as a mentor. The following are qualities of students who can best benefit from the Mentor Matching Engine.
Know their project guidelines: Students are responsible for leading the research and development process. Whether you are working on a class research project, an independent study, or on a real-world industry challenge with a team, each project is different and has different expectations. Student should know timeline and assignment details and communicate with mentors.
Are curious: Ask questions and wonder with your mentor. Do not look for answers but work to find the questions that will inform your next steps in the problem-solving process. This is a GREAT opportunity to ask questions about your mentor too? How did they decide to be a scientist, engineer, or researcher? What is it like to do their job? How did they discover what they definitely did NOT want to do for a career? What kind of school path did they follow in order to get to where they are now?
Are respectful and appreciative: Mentors have extremely demanding schedules and volunteer because they value working with students. Be on time with materials, feedback, and video-conference meetings. Be direct and clear with expectations at the beginning of the project and stick to the expectations, such as how much time a mentor has to spend on the project.
Lead the way: Mentors are there to help and support student work, to answer and ask questions but NOT to do the work for you.
Ask for help: Ask your mentor how often problems get solved by one person. Most likely a mentor will have a long list of people with whom they collaborate. Know when to pull in additional expertise from students, teachers and other mentors and be willing to help out on another project when needed.
Are willing to fail: Inventions and discovery never happen without persistent people who are willing to fail, keeping hope
Come with an open mind: We are all here to learn.