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Will this hurt me?

Posted: Sun Nov 12, 2006 10:18 am
by methionine
Hi all,
My research project involves procedures that can only be performed in a lab. I have a mentor and I'll be doing my experiments there, but would having a mentor hurt me anyway? I keep getting the impression that the judges like it when kids do experiments on their own. I mean-- I am doing my experiments on my own, but I'm just doing them in a laboratory instead. Is that bad?

Thanks.
-M

Mentor

Posted: Mon Nov 13, 2006 6:05 pm
by suomiboy43
Hey,
I know from previous experience with science fairs that at the lower levels like school, county and region , there are very few projects that involve working with a mentor. However, many projects that do well at state and International science fairs involve mentors in some degree because the projects there get too complicated to do alone. I hope this helps.

-suomiboy43

Posted: Mon Nov 13, 2006 10:00 pm
by tdaly
Having a mentor can be a two-edged sword. You need to be able to differentiate between what you did and what your mentor did. Judges don't care if you went into a lab and watched while your mentor did everything.

What impresses a judge is the student who goes into a lab, learns the techniques and protocols s/he will be using, and then does the work his or herself under the supervision of the mentor.

Posted: Tue Nov 14, 2006 10:09 am
by zzzzdoc
I agree with Terik and also think a mentor can be a two-edged sword. But if you can articulately describe your experiment, and answer questions well about it when asked by the judges, I think it would be a positive. But if your involvement was in watching someone else do your experiment, and you look confused when asked questions about it, having a mentor will likely hurt you.

Personally, I like the idea, and have judged kids well who have had mentors. But I do like to throw in some in-depth questions to ferret out how much understanding they do have, so having one may lead to tougher questions. The good news is that if you ace them, you can hit one out of the park.