Written by Katie Stinson
The National Research Mentoring Network’s guided virtual mentoring platform, MyMentor, launched on January 22, 2018 and has been helping mentors and mentees strengthen their education and careers ever since! Our latest surge started with some eager academic coordinators that sought a way to enhance their summer programs through mentoring.
Most undergraduate summer programs provide their students with an on-campus mentor. However, we have found that a multi-faceted mentoring approach yields the best results for students, especially in the undergraduate level. This summer, we have had the pleasure to work with students from the following programs:
- Maximizing Access to Research Careers (MARC) U-STAR awards provide support for undergraduate students who are underrepresented in the biomedical sciences to improve their preparation for high-caliber graduate training at the Ph.D. level. Source: https://www.nigms.nih.gov/Training/MARC/Pages/USTARAwards.aspx
- The Summer Multicultural Advanced Research Training (SMART) Program brings undergraduate students to the UNT Health Science Center campus to participate in a 10-week biomedical sciences project. Participants become familiar with the varied disciplines and methodology used in biomedical research. Source: https://www.unthsc.edu/academic-affairs/center-for-diversity-and-international-programs/summer-research-internships/summer-multicultural-advancement-research-training/
- The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Summer Research Internship Program supports undergraduate students with a focus on increasing underrepresented populations in drug abuse research. Through this program, students age 18 years and older are introduced to the field of drug abuse and addiction research by participating in research internships with NIDA’s distinguished scientists across the United States. Students work with leading scientists for eight weeks during the summer. The internship may include laboratory experiments, data collection, data analysis, formal courses, participation in lab meetings, patient interviews, manuscript preparation, library research, and literature reviews. In addition, it is expected that each intern will deliver a formal presentation on his/her research project at the end of the internship. Source: https://www.drugabuse.gov/offices/office-nida-director-od/office-diversity-health-disparities-odhd/odhd-research-training-programs/nida-summer-research-internship-program
- The HBCU Undergraduate Collaborative Summer Training Program in Prostate Cancer is a collaboration between UNT Health Science Center and Alabama State University. The program offers summer research internship opportunities for undergraduate students interested in prostate cancer research. Source: https://www.unthsc.edu/academic-affairs/center-for-diversity-and-international-programs/diversity-and-inclusion/hbcu-undergraduate-collaborative-summer-training-program-in-prostate-cancer-hbcu/
- Promoting Diversity in Research Training (PDRT). The overall goal of PRDT is to provide underrepresented minority individuals, who are enrolled in a health professional program, a challenging and focused research experience in health disparities related to cardiovascular, pulmonary, and hematologic and sleep disorders. Source: https://www.unthsc.edu/academic-affairs/center-for-diversity-and-international-programs/diversity-and-inclusion/graduate-training-fellowships/promoting-diversity-research-training-health-professionals-pdrt/
Pairing students with an on-campus mentor during their summer program is a wonderful way to quickly build a level of comfort in a new environment. But what happens to the on-campus mentor once the summer program ends? The best-case scenario is for the student and mentor to keep in touch via phone calls or emails. But if that communication practice wasn’t implemented during the summer, then it likely won’t continue for very long into the new academic year. This is where the benefit of MyMentor comes into play.
The MyMentor connections start out as a 4-month duration but can be customized to the length desired by the mentor and mentee. Thus, the mentoring connections established in the beginning of the summer programs will carry them into the start of the new semester, hopefully building a repertoire and relationship to assist in the years to come. Plus, because the communication is predominately virtual, it can easily find a place in even the busiest of schedules.
The MyMentor platform is viewed as a place where an individual can find another individual and be matched into a mentoring connection. Whereas, in fact, it can be catered to the needs of specific groups and organizations. This article only discusses the summer programs that have benefitted from including MyMentor in their curriculum, but there is so much more that can be offered and curated exclusively for any NRMN partners. If you would like to learn more about how MyMentor can benefit your organization or if you are an individual who needs help finding a mentor, please contact Katie Stinson at firstname.lastname@example.org.