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Mentor Guide


The most important part of the mentor/advisee match is REGULAR CONTACT. Not every contact has to be a long email message, but the main idea is to STAY CONNECTED - even short "chatty" messages are fine, since they keep the communication channels open.
The suggested quantitative guidelines are borrowed from Mentor Net, a mentoring network which connects women in engineering and science with mentors in industry. They suggest contact frequency of about once a week, at least 2-4 times per month. One estimate is that this will require a commitment from students of about 15-30 minutes a week, more for mentors if you have more than one advisee. You might want to make it a regular appointment, e.g. every Friday at lunch, send an email to your mentor/advisee. We don't have to be tied to their guidelines, but it will do as a start.

Suggestions for Mentors

Here are a few things to think about as you guide your mentee.

1. Sometimes your mentee wants some guidance, but she's unsure about questions to ask. You can help by prompting with your own questions or even suggesting questions to them.

2. Sometimes your mentee may seem to disappear, due to class pressures or other distractions. You can help maintain contact by sending your mentee an occasional note just to stay in touch.

3. Some mentors communicate with more than one of their mentees at a time, depending on the topic of discussion. Feel free to introduce your mentees to each other if it seems appropriate.

4. Other suggestions:

  • Ask questions of your mentee both math-related and not math-related: what their long and short term goals are, what they like about math, what their other interests are. Adding a personal dimension can help to make the connection with your mentee and stay in touch.
  • Tell about yourself: how did you make your way to where you are now.
  • Suggest things you didn't know then that you know now. Since your mentee does not have the experience, she may not anticipate which questions would be helpful.
  • Tell her what things they can gain from having a mentor.
  • Suggest web sites or other resources that they may find interesting.
  • If your mentee is far away and would like to have someone local to talk with, you may help them in looking for a community or local mentor that could also support them. This can often be done over the web/email.


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