Mentoring promotes successful student outcomes and is a major contributor to scientist identity development. STEM graduate students are often part of mentoring triads, serving as mentees to their faculty advisors and as mentors to undergraduate researchers within the lab. A structured mentorship program was developed for graduate students involved in a summer undergraduate research program to address graduate students’ desire for formal mentorship training. This program was created in response to data collected over two years from faculty, graduate students and undergraduates involved in a summer undergraduate research program. We found that the majority of participating faculty relied on open mentoring triads, leaving the day-to-day tasks to graduate students. Although faculty communicated with graduate students about the lab hosting an undergraduate researcher, graduate students were given little to no mentorship training. From the mentorship program, graduate students reported improved awareness of their own mentoring style and increased collaboration with colleagues to mentor undergraduate researchers in interdisciplinary settings. We also found that graduate student mentors shaped their undergraduate researchers’ scientific identity. We will focus on how the mentorship training program was designed and implemented, the findings from its inaugural year, and applications of this program in other undergraduate research settings.
Coauthors: Tiffany Drape – Virginia Tech; Glenda Gillaspy – Virginia Tech; Sasha Marine – Virginia Tech