Resources for Mentors

One of my favorite parts of my job is getting to work with students. I take the responsibility of mentoring students, many of them in their first research experience, very seriously. I have invested in improving my efficacy as a mentor and sharing resources and practices I find useful with others. Here are some resources I have found useful over the years. They are geared toward a 10-week summer research program, like an REU, but have broader applications.

Some of these resources are adapted from the Entering Mentoring curriculum I was taught as a graduate student at UW-Madison.

Below is a brief overview of each document. The documents are listed in the order in which they are typically used during the summer.

There is a lot here, which might be overwhelming. I recommend starting with the Project Development Worksheet, the Mentor-Mentee Compact, and the Mentee Mid-Summer Reflection.


Project Development Worksheet

  • A worksheet to help flesh out your summer research project
  • Focuses on designing "off ramps" to ensure there are multiple stopping points
  • Highlights the skills your mentee will need and how they will gain them
  • In the past, I have walked through this document with my mentee to design a project with them that best suits their abilities and goals
  • An example from the project I designed for the 2021 TAURUS program can be found here

Mentor Training Homework

  • Formulate a mentoring philosophy and reflect on mentoring generally
  • Highlight challenges you perceive as a mentor

First Week of the Program

Mentor Matrix

  • An exercise to identify what your mentee is hoping you will be able to provide

Mentee Motivations and Expectations

  • An exercise to learn more about your mentee and their goals/expectations
  • Great first step before filling in the Mentor-Mentee Compact

Mentor-Mentee Compact

  • Codifies and clarifies all of the expectations and goals for the research experience
  • Includes the TAURUS/REU Code of Conduct
  • Includes statement about mandatory reporting required by Title IX

Drafting a Letter of Recommendation

  • An exercise for the mentee to more abstractly define their goals for the summer
  • Useful to identify the types of skills the mentee wants to develop/exercise

TAURUS-REU Interview Questions

  • Every mentor will interview their mentee and write up the answers for a blog post
  • These are example questions to ask your mentee

Research Technologies Skills Tracker

  • A google sheet where mentees can quickly identify skills they have
  • A place to identify the skills gained throughout the summer


Mentee Mid-Summer Reflection

  • Assess how the summer and the project are going
  • Identifies gaps in mentorship and how to fill them

End of Summer

Mentee End of Summer Reflection

  • Assess how the summer went
  • Gain feedback on how to improve