Previously: Project Fit
Logistics are just as important in the context of virtual programs as they are in in-person ones. Ensure that key pieces are in place for your mentee’s research project as well as their integration into your research team if you have one. Time flies during a summer research fellowship. Aim to put your mentee in a position to start getting up to speed as soon the program starts. Attend to the following action items before your mentee arrives:
- Ensure your mentee has access to the necessary technology to carry out the project they will undertake.
- You have shared background readings relevant to the work your mentee will undertake over the summer and communicate to them what you want them to get out of reading the material (e.g. come up with three questions per reading, write a short summary, underline all the terms that are new to you, etc.).
- Find out about any additional commitments that your mentee has that are part of their virtual SR-EIP. Many virtual SR-EIP programs will include programming that is supplemental to the research experience that can be discipline-specific, enrichment oriented, intended to provide and build a supportive network. or a combination of all three. For example, many SR-EIP participants are members of mandatory seminars, take GRE classes, and participate in mandatory social outings. These commitments are important to the success of the program. Keep them in mind as you plan out the work that your mentee will do during the summer. Reach out to your program’s summer program coordinator for more information.
- Inquire about your mentee’s responsibilities at home. Many students may also be caregivers or have jobs while at home. You and your mentee will need to adjust the work they are doing to accommodate those responsibilities. Emphasize the goal of adjusting the project when inquiring about students competing responsibilities. The goal is to avoid putting the student on the spot by creating a conflict between the work you want them to do and their family obligations. Given the extraordinary pressures created by social distancing, a little compassion and flexibility here goes a long way.
- Have a conversation with the coordinator for the SR-EIP program at your campus to be briefed on what they will be doing to help onboard your mentee. Also, reach out to someone from your mentee’s home campus to try to get a sense of where your mentee will be coming from. If your mentee is coming from a Leadership Alliance institution, speak to your mentee’s Institutional Coordinator and faculty advisor. They will have the greatest familiarity with SR-EIP as a whole, as well as your mentee’s academic profile.
- If the mentee will be working with someone else on your research team, have a videoconference with that person to coordinate expectations and encourage that person to reach out to the mentee directly before the program begins.
- Plan some introductory activities for the mentee such as a virtual tour of the campus via Google Street View, a team Zoom meeting, departmental Zoom seminar, or a get-to-know-you virtual tabletop game night the research team, etc.
Up Next: Mentoring During the Summer Program