Guide to Being a Proactive Mentee in Summer Research

Welcome to the Leadership Alliance’s Guide to Being a Proactive Mentee in Summer Research

This guide will introduce you to the opportunities and responsibilities that come with being a mentee in a summer research program, both in the context of the Summer Research – Early Identification Program (SR-EIP) and in the context of other summer research experiences in which you may participate. An effective mentor-mentee relationship will fuel your growth as a researcher both in terms of the skills that are essential to conducting research as well as ensuring upward mobility throughout your academic and career paths. Likewise, an effective mentor-mentee relationship will expand your network and expose you to new career and research opportunities. We encourage you to embrace the concepts and apply the strategies we introduce in this guide.

We have learned valuable lessons about mentoring from our experience with support roughly 4,000 summer research students since 1993. One of our biggest lessons is that the relationship each student has had with their mentor has been essential to their growth as researchers. Participants in the SR-EIP characterize their mentors in the Leadership Alliance as vital in the formation and trajectory of their career plans. Once you have completed the program this summer, we bet you will too. Ask any mentor for The Leadership Alliance why this is so, and they will tell you that they are able to be so effective because their mentees – in addition to being talented young researchers – are engaged, proactive, and participate in the culture mentorship at each Alliance research site.

We like to say “once an Alliance participant, always an Alliance participant.” We invite you to learn more about our full spectrum of programs designed to support you in your research career. By working with researchers at every stage of their careers, we have created a network of mentorship that guarantees guidance for whatever you are undertaking, be that a transition to a new career stage, starting or maintaining a research project, or even looking to become a mentor yourself. Throughout, you will find that the common thread of mentorship is spun from the joint efforts of mentor and mentee. We invite you to make use of the strategies and ideas of in this guide in your journey as a mentee.

In the series of articles that make up this resource, we seek to introduce you to our culture of mentorship and offer guidance on how to be a proactive and engaged mentee even before you arrive at your research site, during your summer fellowship, and after you return to your home institution. The articles are grouped into four parts:

  1. Mentors and Mentoring – The first of the guide’s four series of articles covers:
    1. The concept of mentors and mentoring
    2. Who mentors are and how diverse they can be
    3. What you should expect from an effective mentor-mentee relationship
    4. How a being proactive can enhance the mentor-mentee relationship
  2. The second series covers being a proactive mentee before your summer research experience:
    1. Navigating your initial conversations with your mentor
    2. Preparing for your summer research experience
  3. Because the relationship you’re your mentor is so essential to your time at your summer research site, the third series reviews topics related to getting the most out of mentoring during your summer research experience:
    1. How to set expectations with your mentor
    2. Understanding your research mentor’s role in the landscape of staff, faculty, grad students and Alliance coordinators
    3. Preparing for the Leadership Alliance National Symposium (LANS) with your mentor
    4. What to do when there’s a problem with your mentor-mentee relationship
  4. The last series of articles helps you to maintain a relationship with your mentor after the summer experience. This series covers:
    1. Strategies for keeping your mentor(s) up to date with the great things you are doing
    2. How to integrate your summer research mentor(s) with your mentoring team at your home institution
    3. Utilizing your network when applying to graduate school

Do not stop being a proactive mentee during your summer research experience. Seek out new mentors with these resources.

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