Mentoring to Support Student Scientists

Mentoring to Support Student Scientists

Credit: UCAR

Q: How can we engage and retain middle and high school students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)?

A. Mentoring, academic & career counseling, and authentic research experiences increase student engagement and retention in STEM fields. Feedback from students who pursue STEM studies often reveals that mentoring support - especially long-term, continuous mentoring - is the single most important factor contributing to their success.

To support educators in exploring mentoring, the resources below highlight: 

  • Evidence of the positive impact of mentoring 
  • Tips, ideas, and suggestions on what works 
  • Programs that link students and mentors
  • Guidance on starting a mentoring program in your school or community.

These resources are directed at high school and middle school educators, but they apply to mentors of all kinds.  

Let us know if you have additional resources that might be added to this collection!

What does successful mentoring look like?

Statistics Show Middle School Mentoring Program Effective: This article shows how a program in which college students mentored middle and high school students in Connecticut led to impressive increases in high school graduation rates and college acceptance rates.

Research Brief on High School Student Mentoring: This brief outlines types of mentoring, best practices of mentoring, and provides additional resources for educators and administrators.

Successful Mentoring in High Schools: This paper from the Study of High School Restructuring at the University of Texas reviews what successful mentoring looks like in a high school setting.

When Searching for Mentors, Look ‘Beyond Race’: This NPR interview from July 30, 2014 with Freeman Hrabowski, the president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, focuses on the importance of mentoring in academia and especially in STEM fields.

Become a STEM mentor.

Science Buddies: This program matches students working on science fair projects with mentor scientists who can help explain challenging concepts, provide lab space, and help students learn and do more for their science investigations.

Citizen Schools STEM Mentoring: Developed in response to a White House call to generate solutions to the STEM education challenge, the Citizen School STEM Mentoring program with US2020 recruits volunteer mentors to work with students in middle and high school settings with the goal of increasing access to STEM careers for girls, underrepresented minorities, and low-income students.

Million Women Mentors: Advancing woman and girls in STEM through mentoring, this project seeks to recruit a million STEM mentors (male and female) who will increase STEM interest and confidence of girls and young women.

Start your own mentoring program.

The National Mentoring Partnership: This partnership, called MENTOR, provides resources to mentoring programs in the United States and promotes high quality mentoring through standards, research, and state-of-the-art tools.

Youth Mentoring Program Planning and Resources: This robust collection of resources highlighted by Education Northwest covers practical considerations of starting a youth mentoring program as well as research and best practices.

Action Tips, Start a Peer Mentoring Program at Your School | Do Something: This resource provides advice for high school students who want to support new students at their school through mentoring.

© 2012