Faculty Mentoring

Mentoring for Academic & Professional Development

Naomi Ginsberg and Associates

Chemical Engineering Majors

As you plan your course schedule for Spring 2019 and meet with your staff adviser in 121 Gilman (if necessary), we also recommend that you meet with your faculty mentor. Though you are no longer required to meet with a member of the faculty during the advising period (effective Spring 2018), we strongly encourage you to connect with your faculty mentor at least once this semester.

Your faculty mentor is an expert in their academic discipline in research and teaching and is available to talk with you about career planning, research, internships, graduate school, and many other questions related to becoming an engineer. Your mentor expects you to initiate contact and then meet with them at least once each semester. Please see these guidelines for more information and for tips on how to approach your mentoring meetings.

Building a solid, professional relationship with your faculty mentor can be invaluable and may lead to long-lasting benefits well beyond your time as an undergraduate. We strongly urge you to take advantage of this fantastic opportunity!

Chemistry and Chemical Biology Majors

In contrast to your staff adviser in 121 Gilman, and our Career Counselors, establishing a relationship with a faculty mentor—an expert in their academic discipline in research and teaching—can lead to fruitful conversations about career planning, research, internships, graduate school, and many other questions related to becoming a scientist. Please note that, effective Fall 2018, Chemistry and Chemical Biology majors will no longer be assigned a specific faculty mentor. Also, following the new advising period process introduced in Spring 2018, specific faculty members will no longer advise students about enrollment issues (schedule planning, degree requirements, etc.). Thus, students are no longer required to meet with a faculty member during the advising period.

For students conducting (or who have conducted) research, one of the best people to provide mentoring is your research director. For those not engaged in research, we strongly encourage you to consult with at least one member of the faculty of your choosing who can guide and support your academic and professional development. You should feel free to initiate contact at any time.

Please see these guidelines for more information and for tips on how to approach mentoring meetings.

Please note that Undergraduate Dean Arnold is also happy to meet with you to discuss mentoring options, either during his open office hours in 121 Gilman (M/Th 1-2 pm), via a Zoom meeting, or by appointment. Email him for details. Building a solid, professional relationship with a faculty mentor can be invaluable and may lead to long-lasting benefits well beyond your time as an undergraduate. We strongly urge you to take advantage of this opportunity.

Guidelines for Students

Your faculty mentor is an expert in their academic discipline, in both research and teaching. They are available to talk with you about career planning, research, internships, graduate school, and many other questions related to becoming a scientist or engineer. Your mentor expects you to meet with them at least once each semester.

To prepare for your mentoring meeting:

  1. Download a PDF copy of your Academic Summary
    • Go to your "My Academics" tab, click "View Academic Summary" → "Print"
    • In print dialogue box, under "Destination," choose "Save as PDF"
    • - Click "Save" button
    • - In "Filename" box, delete "CalCentral," replace with your name
    • - Save as PDF
  2. Email your faculty mentor with at least three proposed 30-minute time slots; attach the PDF copy of your Academic Summary
  3. Learn as much as you can about your faculty mentor. Start by exploring their College of Chemistry faculty web site:
  4. If you're interested in doing research, read about your mentor's research projects so you can ask about them.
  5. Prepare a list of questions and/or topics to discuss at your meeting. See sample questions and topics below.

Sample mentoring meeting questions & topics:

  1. What's the focus of your research? What questions are you trying to answer, or what problems are you trying to solve?
  2. How did you become interested in those questions/areas/subjects?
  3. I'm passionate about chemistry / chemical biology / chemical engineering, but I don't know enough yet to be interested in a particular area or subfield. Can you recommend ways for me to explore further or refine my interests?
  4. I want to learn more about X. What classes should I take?
  5. What qualities do you look for in an undergraduate researcher?
  6. What are some good things to think about if I'm trying to decide between going to graduate school or into industry?
  7. What kinds of careers can I pursue with a Bachelor's degree in this major?
  8. What skills will this major help me develop?
  9. I would like to pursue X. Do you think I need to go to graduate school? Do you know of other things I could do to pursue X?
  10. What should I do to prepare for graduate school?
  11. What are some academic challenges you've faced?
  12. What are your thoughts on balancing life with schoolwork?
  13. How do you work with students who may learn differently?
  14. What do you know now that you wish you'd known before you entered this field?

Additional questions listed on the Career Center's web page about informational interviews may also be helpful.

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