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Does my mentor need to be close to where I live?

Postby 18caps » Sun Jan 31, 2016 10:51 am

I have been having discussions with my science research teacher about where my mentor needs to be. Since housing is not provided, does my mentor need to be close to where I live so that I am able to go to the university or lab everyday from home or are there other alternatives like sharing data and analysis online? Also I am not 16 years old yet, so I can't work in a lab. So is it possible to just analyze the data (and not collect it) with my mentor?

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Re: Does my mentor need to be close to where I live?

Postby tdaly » Fri Feb 05, 2016 9:45 am

Hi 18caps,

There isn't a "right" answer to your question. Whether you can work with a mentor who lives near you or collaborate with someone who lives or works far away depends on the type of project you are doing. It also depends on how involved you want your mentor to be. For example, if you are doing an astronomy project using data that your mentor has access to, it might not be critical that the two of you live near each other. You can communicate via email or Skype and share data with each other via Google Drive or Dropbox. But, if you want to do a project that involves working in a lab synthesizing nanoparticles or culturing cells, then it would be important for your mentor to live or work near you so that you can go to the lab and do your work. With regards to analyzing data that someone else collects, I view this as a gray area. Talk to your science teacher for guidance so that you do something that aligns with her or his expectations.
All the best,

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Re: Does my mentor need to be close to where I live?

Postby christinecho » Sun Apr 24, 2016 10:18 am

Hi 18caps,

The simple answer is yes, you can do research with a mentor who lives far away. I know multiple high schoolers who have been virtually mentored before. That being said, being virtually mentored has its drawbacks; often you'll have to wait a longer time to have your questions answered. However, you said that you're planning on analyzing data rather than collecting data, so having a mentor who lives far away should be fine. I'm sure you and your mentor can work out how to share data, whether it be over email or a link to a database. More importantly, make sure the mentor is willing to help you if you have questions and you should be all good. Hope this helps and good luck with your research!

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