Mary Gates Endowment For Students

Resources & Tips for Mentors

Below you will find general resources and tips for building a successful mentor relationship. If you have any questions or would like to talk to someone about mentorship, please feel free to contact us.


  • Mentoring Tools and Resources, Professional and Organizational Development Division: Quick Reference for Mentors
    Read about what it means to be a mentor, what mentors do, and how to identify what you can contribute to your student mentee’s experience.


Keep Communications Open

  • Be sure that students regularly report to you or your designee to:
    • discuss their progress;
    • ask questions; and,
    • review resources and documentation of research and leadership project.
  • Continue to identify resources that the student should be consulting as they progress.
  • Written project status reports may be a good idea if your schedule is very busy. Writing also helps the student integrate the details of their day-to-day work into a larger project framework.
  • If the student attends a group meeting, encourage them to participate or present work.

Identify Benchmarks & Recognize Accomplishments

  • Students can feel frustrated and/or challenged at times in a research setting, so be sure to recognize their accomplishments, large and small, as their work progresses. You may need to help them understand that in many cases these feelings are an integral part of moving forward.
  • Students may need more structure, including expected project milestones and/or updates.

Maintain a Project Log or Notebook

  • Students should keep notes of what they do and record results regularly for their own records and in some cases so that another student or researcher may continue the project after the student leaves.
  • Many students do not know how to keep a research/project notebook, so an example would be helpful. Be sure to discuss any proprietary issues concerning the student’s research, particularly if it is a part of an ongoing and/or funded project.
  • Remember: A common problem is student-generated software on protocols that are impossible for others to run once the student is gone.
  • Be sure the student is conducting research in an ethical manner.

Encourage Students to Present and Fund Their Work

Encourage Students to Present and Fund Their Work