Getting to know your research
One of the topics you and your mentor should discuss is the research you will be conducting. In some cases, your mentor will already know the specifics of the work you will be doing and can tell you about it. In other cases, your mentor may be waiting to find out more about your skills and interests in order to decide on the work you should be doing. In either case, it is great to tell your mentor that you would like to know more about the work that they have in mind for you. If your mentor needs more information in order to set that up, then you are in a great place to start sharing that information. Many mentors may also have articles for you to read to familiarize yourself with the project and their department. Make time for a thorough reading of these articles. Once you have read them, email your mentor back with a few questions. It is a great way to demonstrate followthrough.
Getting to know other potential mentors
When you touch base with your faculty mentor, feel empowered to ask who else you might be working with, such as a graduate student or postdoc, so that you can reach out to them as well. They, too, will be valuable mentors for you. They can provide an additional perspective on their current career stage as well as answer questions you may not feel comfortable bringing to your faculty mentor. Rely on your Leadership Alliance Summer Coordinator. They, too, can help you network at your research site, find professional development resources, and help you navigate the challenges of living and working at your host university.