Finding a Mentor

What is a mentor?

A mentor is an experienced individual who can advise you and guide you through your undergraduate experience. They may offer you advice on potential career paths, areas of study, or life in general. A mentor should be a person with whom you have an ongoing connection, someone you trust and admire, and someone who is committed to your success and development.

Establishing a Mentorship

MentorWhere To Find ThemAdvantages
A mentor in your school’s programYour school’s career officeHave experience guiding students; may have more time to devote to helping you
A professorYour Chemistry DepartmentCan advise you about the life in your chemistry department; offer advice on course selection; advise on your future in chemistry with special insight into your skills as a future chemist
School AlumniYour Alumni OfficeWill be familiar with school’s chemistry department; have real world experience – you may be able to shadow them at work to get a feel for the life of a professional chemist in a field that interests you
A professional chemistAt an ACS meeting (local section meeting, national meeting, etc.)Can advise you about working in a field that interests you; help you make good choices about useful courses of study; may be able to help you find internships or co-ops

Establishing Boundaries

Establishing boundaries can help you cultivate an ideal mentorship experience. Be careful not to become overly reliant on your mentor. Always remember that your mentor has other responsibilities and do everything you can to be respectful of them. You may wish to set guidelines, such as only meeting every several weeks. You may also want to set a standing rule that either you or your mentor may end the mentorship at any time if the arrangement isn’t working for either of you. Be prepared to talk to your mentor and always express your appreciation for their time and assistance. With the right guidelines in place, your mentorship can be a helpful guide to you and a fulfilling experience for your mentor.