1. Sonia Martinez
  2. Chief Academic Officer
  4. Great Minds in STEM
  1. Kimberly Douglas-Mankin
  2. https://www.linkedin.com/in/kimberly-douglas-mankin-9011402/
  3. Consultant
  5. Great Minds in STEM


NSF Awards: 0318510, 0541853, 0454569, 0001388, 1043737, 0549084, 0808208

2018 (see original presentation & discussion)

Grades 9-12, Undergraduate, Graduate

Launched in 1997, MentorNet a division of GMiS, supports the academic persistence and advancement of underrepresented students in the STEM fields. MentorNet delivers a nationwide software-as-a-service platform for one-to-one mentoring that is open to all STEM students in higher education and to STEM professionals who want to serve as mentors.  Our goal is to ensure that all university and community college students interested in STEM have the opportunity and support necessary to persist in their education, to enter the U.S. workforce, and to contribute to scientific advancements and technological innovations.

The core strength of MentorNet’s service is the STEM focus of our mentee/mentor discussion topics delivered based on a college student’s developmental level – freshman through Ph.D. Topics are provided weekly along including short learning modules to help guide both the mentee and mentor through the mentorship. A key objective is to make the process of mentorship easy so the mentee and mentor can focus on student success.

MentorNet currently provides mentoring services for five NSF funded projects which are utilizing the platform to support their project’s mentoring, and previously received a Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring.  This video will illustrate the range of ways the MentorNet platform can be utilized to support mentoring within organizations and projects. 

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Original Discussion from the 2018 STEM for All Video Showcase
  • Icon for: Brian Drayton

    Brian Drayton

    May 15, 2018 | 12:00 p.m.

    A very interesting system.  I am curious if there's been research on the mentoring thru Mentornet about short- or long-term impacts for students — or for mentors, or both? 

  • May 17, 2018 | 05:34 p.m.

    Hi Brian, Thanks so much for watching our video and for your question.  MentorNet was established in 1997 and in the early-years much was published in the literature on both short term and long term impacts.  The focus was originally on women students and then shifted to women and students of color.  MentorNet now serves all students with a focus on those who are women, students of color, and under-served.

    In 2014, MentorNet implemented a major redesign of its service and since that time the research has been done on a project by project basis, and has focused on that communities unique utilization of the platform for their community.  MentorNet itself has focused on user satisfaction with its end of mentorship survey (for both mentors and mentees), and is currently in the process of implementing a standardized approach to measure impact across the entire platform which will have IRB approval so that results can be published.  

  • Icon for: Danielle Watt

    Danielle Watt

    May 15, 2018 | 01:01 p.m.

    Thanks for sharing your project. It is a thoughtful way to engage students in mentoring. I have the same question as Brian, do you have data on the long term impacts - number of students who obtained grad/professional degrees or pursued careers in STEM?

    Also, over the past 20 years, have to tracked how many students returned to be mentors? 

  • May 17, 2018 | 01:54 p.m.

    Hi Danielle, the response is largely the same as to Brian's.  The structure for longitudinal analysis was not built into the original service, and was larger done back then by external studies.  With more recent upgrades to the service, we will be able to more easily track educational and career progress of participants, as well as levels of engagement.  I appreciate your question about whether our mentors were prior MentorNet mentees.  This question can be easily added either as a profile question moving forward.  Thank you for the suggestion.


  • Icon for: Whitney Erby

    Whitney Erby

    May 15, 2018 | 09:10 p.m.

    Thanks for this video! Once mentees are matched with a mentor, does MentorNet assist in any other way with facilitating the mentor/mentee relationship? 

  • May 17, 2018 | 01:58 p.m.

    Hi Whitney,  Thanks for your question.  MentorNet is a guided virtual mentoring experience.  Mentoring pairs receive discussion prompts from MentorNet on a weekly basis, and the topics focus on topics of importance for academic success and persistence and are appropriate for the student's developmental level.  When MentorNet is used for a community or project, content and frequency can be adjusted and aligned to meet the needs of the project.  

  • Icon for: Jay Labov

    Jay Labov

    May 15, 2018 | 10:09 p.m.

    Thank you for preparing and posting this video. It's clear from the statistics that you've provided in the video that MentorNet has had a very broad reach over a long period of time. I agree with the others who have written asking about whether there are data that demonstrate the efficacy of MentorNet. If you've published any of this data, it would be very helpful to respond with a link.

    Secondly, building on Whitney's question, after viewing the video I was wondering whether the software that matches mentors and mentees allows for or encourages pairing people who live reasonably close to each other so that it might become feasible for them to meet in person rather than working together only online?

    Thank you again for providing this important information.

  • May 17, 2018 | 02:07 p.m.

    Hi Jay,  Thank you for your question.  I posted a response related to the longitudinal data above.  The service is very different today from the way it was originally designed so it would not be appropriate to link prior results to the current service.  

    MentorNet does not currently seek to create geographic matches, and we have debated through time whether we should do so.  We have partner communities that do include geographic questions for their sub-community.  In these cases, this information is used for match recommendations, but we are not doing this for the overall community.  We are in the process of implementing feature updates that will provide on-platform resources to make the virtual interaction experience feel more like a face-to-face experience.   

  • Icon for: Sylvia Mendez

    Sylvia Mendez

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 17, 2018 | 04:52 a.m.

    I love the focus on connecting students across the higher education landscape to STEM professionals. Thanks for sharing!

    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Lorena Medina Luna
  • May 17, 2018 | 02:09 p.m.

    Hi Sylvia,  Thank you so much for the feedback!  We also have a subcommunity that is using the service for near-peer mentoring.

    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Lorena Medina Luna
  • Icon for: Sylvia Mendez

    Sylvia Mendez

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 17, 2018 | 04:41 p.m.

    In this part of our iteration of the IMPACT mentoring program we are introducing Embodied Conversational Agents to engage users in real-time dialogue using verbal-non-verbal channels to emulate the in-person/virtual mentoring experience. It appears we could have some synergy with our similar virtual mentoring efforts.  

  • May 17, 2018 | 05:33 p.m.

    Hi Sylvia, yes, I agree that there is definitely synergy between the two approaches, and had the same thought when we recently discussed approaches to support faculty via INCLUDES.

  • Icon for: Lorena Medina Luna

    Lorena Medina Luna

    Informal Educator
    May 18, 2018 | 08:04 p.m.

    This is a great service, especially since it includes community college students who might not usually get or know about mentor opportunities. This is a great way to connect students and offer support! Great work! 

  • May 19, 2018 | 01:21 a.m.

    Thanks Lorena!  

  • May 21, 2018 | 07:01 p.m.

    Some of our grants require individual STEM faculty to mentor several STEM students. Can MentorNet be used in that One to Many scenario? The ability to both track interactions and for mentees and mentors to receive instruction would be wonderful.

  • Further posting is closed as the event has ended.

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