Frequently Asked Questions
1. Do I have to find a mentor on my own?
The answer is both yes and no. Technically, it's student responsibility to find and secure a mentor, but I'm willing and able to help assuming students do their due diligence. You should exhaust all resources and make every effort to find and secure a mentor. Road blocks do arise, however. If you're unable to find a mentor willing to take you on, you'll schedule a meeting with me and we'll sit down together to discuss the steps you've taken and then go from there. If you run into issues during the summer, please email me.
2. How do I find a mentor?
Good mentors can be hard to come by. It takes a significant amount of time to find and secure a mentor so time should be set aside for such. My advice is to begin by networking. Who do you know that knows someone who may know someone else that works in the field you're interested in pursuing? Most students find a mentor through a family friend. That's a great place to start, but don't be afraid to make a call or send an email to a potential mentor you really have your heart set on. I posted an email template in the "Forms" section of my website titled, "Email Template" that you are welcome to adapt and use to send to potential mentors. Keep in mind that the individuals you contact are busy - the real world is a different kind of place. They often miss emails or even skip over an email from an unknown sender. Students often don't hear back from a number of contacts they attempt to make. Formulate a list of potential mentors and attempt to contact them all. If all respond and are willing to take you on - great - you can choose who you want to work with from there. If you make a dozen contacts, but only hear back from one - one is better than none. If you receive no response to your email, remember that it's much harder to turn you down to your face than it is to ignore an email or say "no" through an email. Attempt to get in contact with a receptionist and schedule a appointment. You can explain the program in person and detail all the reasons why he/she is the ideal mentor for you. Showing you are eager to learn from an expert in the field is really important.
3. Can my mentor be a relative?
No. You must work with an individual outside of your family. Additionally, a mentor can't be someone at your current place of employment.
4. Does my potential mentor need to do anything to actually become my mentor?
Yes! All mentors must complete the THREE required forms in the "Forms" section of my website. Simply look for the file titled, "Complete Forms Packet" - that file includes all three forms. We run a DPS background check on all mentors - your mentor must be cleared before you can begin working with him/her. The forms provide us with the necessary information to run the background check (hence the reason for all of the required personal information). The file on the "Forms" section of my website titled, "Directions for Required Mentor Forms" explains each form and provides instructions for submitting the forms.
5. What can I do with my mentor?
You can do all things within reason and assuming they're appropriate; you're essentially a non-paid intern attempting to learn as much as you can about the field as a whole. If you're working with a physician, you obviously aren't qualified to practice medicine so the majority of your placement visits will be observational. On the flip side, I've had students work with graphic designers for example who have been actively involved in a number of projects, etc. Activities depend entirely upon your placement. The file on my website in the "Forms" tab titled, "Is Mentoring for You" provides great insight for students and mentors alike as to activity options.
6. How many hours do I have to meet with my mentor and how do I schedule hours?
Students work with their mentors two hours a week through a designated stopping point near the conclusion of the semester - usually 3-4 weeks before final exams. In all, students spend between 11-13 weeks with their mentors. Students and mentors work together to schedule hours. Students can use non-class days to meet with mentors, but they must keep meeting times and locations appropriate. Assignments depend upon the hourly requirement; if you aren't getting your two hours every week, you won't be able to complete assignments and your overall grade will suffer. We ask all mentors to provide a "backup mentor" in the event that a mentor is sick or otherwise unable to meet during a particular week.
7. How is the Mentorship class set up?
Mentorship is similar to other classes in that it incorporates five hours of "class" each week. However, we actually only hold class on Tuesday's. Students come to class and work through lessons like professionalism in employment, workplace ethics, building a resume, etc. Students use the remaining non-class days to meet with their mentors and complete research and other class assignments. Students must spend two hours with their mentors every week and two hours working on the completion of Mentorship coursework every week. All "work" is document on a weekly log sheet that mentors sign as well; the log sheet acts as documentation.
8. What kind of research will I be doing in Mentorship?
The class is technically deemed a project-based research course. Students will compile their experiential and independent research over the course of the semester and present it along with a product at their scheduled final exam.
9. Why should I take Mentorship?
Mentorship gives students the ability to gain valuable experience in a field they're interested in pursuing in the future. This advanced insight gives students opportunities to develop goals and ideas about their field of study which better prepares students for college and beyond. It also gives students a leg up on their peers in terms of experience, networking, and confidence in the field as a whole. We strive to prepare students for the "real world" and give them the necessary tools to eventually excel in the workplace.
10. What if I find myself struggling to find a mentor or struggling though the year in the Mentorship course?
While Mentorship can be challenging as it is a time consuming course, the work you will complete is based on your experience. Because of this, most students find it not only rewarding and fun but also easy to handle as long as they stay on top of the work and complete the weekly hourly requirement. I do have students who may have a hard time planning and prioritizing, so if you ever find yourself in this position I have an open door policy. I'm more than willing to help in any way that I can so that you get the experience you want and of course, stress-free.