Become a Mentor
Your Role as a Mentor
Master Plant Science Team
How the Process Works
Your role as a mentor
Your role is to encouragingly guide student research teams as they design and carry out plant investigations:
- Offer insights about plant biology and demonstrate how scientists approach scientific research.
- Ask friendly probing questions that encourage students to reflect and clarify their thinking.
- Point to resources.
Student projects usually last only a couple of weeks---so your input is vital to them! We ask that you post online comments and/or questions to your teams at least 2-3 times per week. Reflecting and communicating are critical, often missing, components of student scientific research. Your contributions as a scientist mentor to student teams support the doing of science as well as the talking and thinking about it.
For an overview of the mentor’s role and suggestions, please see our Mentor Guide.
Key Tips from the Mentoring Guide
Communicate early and often. Set a friendly expectation for active engagement at the outset. Several short, simple comments or questions are usually more effective than a few long paragraphs.
Establish realistic expectations. Most students (and teachers) have little or no prior experience studying plants or designing science investigations.
Master Plant Science Team for graduate students and post-docs
A special opportunity for graduate students and post-doctoral researchers is available to those interested in a year-long commitment mentoring 4-5 teams per session in exchange for great benefits. For information and an application to the Master Plant Science Team, click here.
PLEASE NOTE: The application deadline for the 2017-2018 MPST team is August 7, 2017.
How the Process Works
We offer a spring session and a fall session each year. Signing up as a mentor does not obligate you to mentor every session. Before a session we email mentors to ask if they are available. You can choose to participate if the session works well for your schedule.
Once you are registered, enroll in the Mentor Training Course for a step-by-step "scavenger hunt" style introduction to the website.
Here is our upcoming session schedule:
Fall 2017 Session: September 25 to November 18
Spring 2018 Session: February 19 to April 27
- Communicate early and often. Set a friendly expectation for active engagement at the outset. Several short, simple comments or questions are usually more effective than a few long paragraphs.
- Establish realistic expectations. Most students (and teachers) have little or no prior experience studying plants or designing science investigations.