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The Science of Effective Mentoring in Science, Technology, Engineering, Medicine, and Mathematics (STEMM)

The quality, vigor, and innovation of the U.S. science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine (STEMM) enterprise depend on increasing the diversity of individuals, research teams, and leadership in STEMM fields. This in turn requires the advancement of women, individuals from racial/ethnic groups historically underrepresented in STEMM, and first-generation students at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Effective, high-quality, and sustainable mentoring relationships for diverse individuals across career stages are essential in supporting student success (e.g., performance, persistence) in STEMM fields, especially for many members of these historically underrepresented populations.

While access to and engagement with a strong mentor are known to be critical factors in the academic and career development of undergraduate and graduate students in STEMM, there has not been adequate attention to ensuring that mentors and mentees are educated and trained with the evidence-based knowledge and skills necessary to ensure highly productive and sustainable mentoring relationships. It is increasingly clear that successful mentoring relationships can be nurtured using existing and emerging research on the characteristics, competencies, and behaviors identified for being effective mentors and mentees. What is missing is a systematic compilation and analysis of the current research on mentorship in STEMM as well as a practical resource guide that enables mentoring practitioners—institutions, departments, programs, and individual faculty members—to create and support viable, sustainable mentoring support systems. This study proposes to addresses these two gaps.


Under the auspices of BHEW and CWSEM, and in collaboration with BOSE, an ad hoc committee will conduct a study of STEMM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medical) mentoring programs and practices at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The study will have a particular focus on identifying evidence (or lack thereof) regarding successful programs for mentoring of individuals traditionally marginalized in STEMM fields, including women, individuals from racial/ethnic groups historically underrepresented in STEMM, and first-generation college students. Guiding questions for the study will include the following:
  • What are common definitions and differentiations among the various models of mentoring in STEMM?
  • What are the most successful elements of effective mentoring relationships in STEMM education at the various stages of career development?
  • How can and should mentees and mentors be trained to be more effective in the mentor-mentee relationship?
The committee will issue a final report and also create an online interactive guide of effective programs and practices that can be adopted and adapted by institutions, departments, and individual faculty members.


First Committee Meeting
December 19-20, 2017
Health Sciences Learning Center at the University of Wisconsin—Madison in Madison, WI
Open Session Information


Angela Byars-Winston (Chair)
Professor of Medicine in the Division of General Internal Medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

Tammy D. Allen
Professor of Psychology and Area Director for the Doctoral Program in Industrial-Organizational Psychology at the University of South Florida
Laura Lunsford
Director of the H. David and Diane Swain Center for Business and Economic Services at the University of North Carolina Wilmington
Erin Dolan
Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology and Georgia Athletic Association Professor of Innovative Science Education at the University of Georgia
Richard (Rick) McGee, Jr.
Associate Dean for Faculty Recruitment & Professional Development and Professor of Medical Education at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Joe (Skip) G.N. Garcia [NAM]
Dr. Merlin K. DuVal Professor of Medicine and Professor of Physiology at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson
Christine (Chris) Pfund
Researcher with the Wisconsin Center for Education Research and Director of the Center for the Improvement of Mentored Experiences in Research (CIMER) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison
Juan E. Gilbert
Andrew Banks Family Preeminence Endowed Professor and Chair of the Computer & Information Science & Engineering Department at the University of Florida and Director Institute for African American Mentoring in Computing Sciences (iAAMCS)
Keivan G. Stassun
Stevenson Professor of Physics & Astronomy, Senior Associate Dean for Graduate Education and Research for the College of Arts and Science, and Director of the Vanderbilt Center for Autism & Innovation at Vanderbilt University
Sylvia Hurtado
Professor of Education at the Graduate School of Education & Information Studies of the University of California, Los Angeles
Renetta Tull
Director of Graduate & Professional Pipeline Development for the University System of Maryland and Associate Vice Provost for Strategic Initiatives and Professor of the Practice in the College of Engineering and IT at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County


Maria Lund Dahlberg, Study Director and Program Officer
Tom Rudin, BHEW Director
Allison Berger, Senior Program Assistant
Irene Nugn, Research Associate



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For more information, please contact


Participatory Workshop on Effective Mentoring in STEMM: practice, research, and future directions
February 9-10, 2017
The National Academy of Sciences
Lecture Room
Washington, D.C.