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The Fundamentals

On being a student mentee

A relationship is not a relationship if it doesn’t benefit everyone involved. This is true of all kinds of relationships, which includes mentoring relationships as well. Be considerate, then, of the following issues; some of what may seem informal to you may be very formal to your mentor.

Meetings: Between October and March, you are expected to participate in four meetings with your mentor. It is your responsibility to initiate contact in setting up these meetings, which is typically done by email. You will need to work out when, where and how the meeting is taking place, and you should arrive punctually. If in-person meetings are not possible for any reason, you may wish to use video-conferencing software such as Zoom or Skype for the meetings

Courtesy: Your mentor is giving their personal time to participate in this program and should be appreciated as such. Mentors who participate do so on a voluntary basis, out of interest in you as students and out of their own generosity.

Confidentiality: You and your mentor are responsible for identifying and observing areas of confidentiality. Possible areas of confidentiality include personal and privileged industry information.

Professionalism: As the program progresses, you will become better acquainted with your mentor. This is a great thing, and we encourage you to feel comfortable speaking with and interacting with your mentor; however, this comfort must always be tempered with appropriate standards of professionalism. That applies not only to communications, but also to your progress reports and to your feedback in the program evaluation survey at the end of the program.

Dress Code: If you are invited to meet with your mentor at his or her place of business, you are expected to dress in appropriate business attire unless otherwise arranged with mentors. If you are unsure of the dress code for a particular office, feel free to ask your mentor what is appropriate (that is part of what he/she is there for).

Evaluation: In the spring, you and your Evaluation: In the spring, you and your mentor will be asked to complete a short program evaluation to provide feedback and suggestions. Results will be used to improve the program for next year.

Questions or concerns:

The Mentorship Office takes an active interest in all mentor/student relationships. We are available to answer any questions you may have regarding the program at any stage. Similarly, we encourage you to let us know of any issues or concerns that may arise so that they can be addressed quickly, ensuring a satisfying experience for both parties. If either you or your mentor feels that the mentor/student relationship is not benefiting either party, please contact the Mentorship Office.

The basic expectations for student mentees:

  • Come to the meetings prepared! Rewarding mentorship experiences happen when students have questions in mind or activities to suggest when meeting mentors. The handbook includes some questions you can ask and some ideas for activities to get you started.
  • Know what you would like to learn and know what kind of mentoring you want from your mentor, then ask for both. A mentor cannot provide helpful information or create the kind of mentoring experience you want if he/she does not know what would be helpful to you.
  • DO NOT ask your mentor for a job or a graduate position; this is not the purpose of this program.
  • Many mentors are alumni of the department. Remember that you are in effect a representative of the department, and act accordingly.
  • And finally, please note that in the event that you have not made the effort to contact your mentor within two weeks of receiving his/her contact, you will lose your right to participate and your mentor will be matched with someone else. It will be your responsibility to manage your time and follow through on the initial e-mail or phone call to introduce yourself.

The mentor’s role

Your mentor can:

  • Share their knowledge about your career or research area of interest.
  • Offer you other kinds of help, such as advice on where and how to find the answers that they cannot give you
  • Recommend other people who might be able to help you.