bridget37
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Jul 01, 2016 6:19 am
Occupation: Student

First meeting with a Mentor

Postby bridget37 » Fri Jul 01, 2016 6:25 am

Hi! I have recently reached out the different university professors in the area and have set up a meeting with one of them about working in their lab. I read your "How to find a mentor" page and it was very helpful. However, I am still really nervous, even after reading several scientific papers by the professor. I'm okay with typing emails, since I can edit them, but what if I don't know what to say in person? Can you tell me more about what it's like to first meet a potential mentor? Also, in your "How to find a mentor" page, you said that you should always bring a copy of your resume. I am only going into 9th grade and honestly, don't have that much background experience and qualifications. What should I do?

tdaly
Former Expert
Posts: 1415
Joined: Sat Nov 08, 2003 11:27 pm
Occupation: Planetary Scientist

Re: First meeting with a Mentor

Postby tdaly » Fri Jul 01, 2016 8:09 am

Hi bridget37,

I'm happy to hear that you've been able to arrange a meeting with a potential mentor. Speaking from experience, this can be super exciting and slightly scary all at the same time. But, speaking again from experience, take a couple of deep breaths - your meeting is going to go OK. The fact that this person agreed to meet with you means they are interested to hear what you have to say. And, the person you are meeting with knows you are a high school student, which means that the potential mentor's expectations are different than if you were, for example, Dr. Famous Professor from Famous Place coming to talk about a collaborative project. That said, you do want to be prepared for the meeting so that you send the message that you are a responsible person who takes this seriously.

You want to convey that you are a responsible, reliable, mature student who knows more about science than the average high schooler. I would write out a few talking points before going to the meeting and come with those written down on a piece of paper. You can include notes on that sheet of paper, as well as some questions that you have for your potential mentor. Some of your questions should be logistical (e.g., "Would you be willing to serve as my mentor for the next several months?"), while others should be science-related (e.g., "In your paper titled "______", you talked about Y, which I found very interesting (or slightly confusing, etc). Can you elaborate on Y?) Coming prepared in such a way will communicate that you are a responsible person who is taking this meeting seriously. You can refer to your talking points, notes, and questions if you get flummoxed or are feeling extra nervous during the meeting.

Post back as you have other questions! I'm happy to help you prep for the meeting.
All the best,
Terik

bridget37
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Jul 01, 2016 6:19 am
Occupation: Student

Re: First meeting with a Mentor

Postby bridget37 » Mon Jul 04, 2016 2:59 pm

Hi Terik! Thank you so much for the advice. Do you know any examples of questions the professor may ask me? I just want to be as prepared as possible.

tdaly
Former Expert
Posts: 1415
Joined: Sat Nov 08, 2003 11:27 pm
Occupation: Planetary Scientist

Re: First meeting with a Mentor

Postby tdaly » Tue Jul 05, 2016 9:53 am

Hi bridget37,

Wanting to be as prepared as possible is an excellent goal. I can't tell you exactly what questions you might be asked by your potential. But, here are some that come to mind:

Why do you want to work on this?

What would being your mentor involve? (Note - you will want to be familiar with the Intel ISEF rules for working in labs and with the rules for the type of project you are planning to do, such as those relating to bacteria, chemicals, and so forth. You will definitely need a form 1C, and perhaps others.)

How much time do you have to spend on this project?

What science and math classes have you taken? (or are you taking?)

There may be other questions as well, but these are some that come to mind.

Post back as you have other questions!
All the best,
Terik


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