mentor and mentee discussing
What You Should Expect from a Good Mentor in a Summer Research Program

Previously: Who is a mentor?

The ideal mentor offers all of the following to their mentees:

  1. Collaboratively charting a map for your future career development – You have career goals. How do you get there? What are the best lessons for an aspiring researcher in your field? You can look to your mentor for answers to these questions. You should also be prepared to share your aspirations with your mentor. Your mentor cannot help you plot a route to your career goals if they do not know what those goals are.
  2. Coaching on the norms and culture of your discipline – All disciplines have “unwritten” rules with which every member of that discipline should be familiar. Your mentor can help you accelerate that learning process.
  3. Emotional and personal support – Every person struggles at some point in their career. Your mentor may seem like they have it all figured out, but they struggled in the past and will do so in the future. A good mentor will guide you through your struggles. It pays to heed their guidance because it usually comes from a place of experience.
  4. Networking – A good mentor will take the time to introduce you to people who can help with your career advancement.
  5. Lookout for Opportunities – There are great opportunities for career advancement out there. If they are not your radar screen, they may be on your mentor’s. Check in with your mentors about opportunities that might be a good fit for you.

Action Item:

Looking for additional mentors before the summer program starts? Join TLAConnect. Leadership Alliance alumni and participants are there, ready to work with you on charting your career path, developing your scholarly skills, broadening your network, and finding new opportunities.

Up Next: Mentoring Up: how to be a proactive mentee