The Office of Faculty Development

Inclusive Mentoring of STEM Students

Numerous studies have demonstrated that effective mentoring leads to positive outcomes, including the completion of a degree, increased self-efficacy, and student satisfaction with their educational experience. As with teaching, mentoring involves communicating information between individuals in a similar manner. Particularly, mentors facilitate the development of their mentees on a personal and professional level. As a mentor, you should take the time to ask questions and practice active listening so that you can gain a better understanding of your mentee. Throughout this process, you will discover that each mentee brings with them a unique set of values, perspectives, experiences, and interests that may or may not align with yours. There is mixed evidence regarding the importance of academic mentors and mentees having similar identities. It is, however, important for mentors and mentees to establish a relationship that transcends differences to ensure that all mentees have equal access to the benefits of mentoring. In addition, it is imperative that mentor/mentee teams meet regularly so that they can discuss their goals, progress, challenges, and future plans. The purpose of this teaching guide is to provide STEM mentors with resources that will enable them to become more inclusive in their mentoring practices.

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    Examine selected research on Inclusive Mentoring in STEM. 

    Kricorian, K., Seu, M., Lopez, D., Ureta, E., & Equils, O. (2020). Factors influencing participation of underrepresented students in STEM fields: matched mentors and mindsets. International Journal of STEM Education7(1), 1–9. in new window)

    Wilson, Z. S., Holmes, L., deGravelles, K., Sylvain, M. R., Batiste, L., Johnson, M., McGuire, S. Y., Pang, S. S., & Warner, I. M. (2012). Hierarchical Mentoring: A Transformative Strategy for Improving Diversity and Retention in Undergraduate STEM Disciplines. Journal of Science Education and Technology21(1), 148–156. in new window)

    Atkins, K., Dougan, B. M., Dromgold-Sermen, M. S., Potter, H., Sathy, V., & Panter, A. T. (2020). “Looking at Myself in the Future”: how mentoring shapes scientific identity for STEM students from underrepresented groups. International Journal of STEM Education7(1), 42–42. in new window)

    Robnett, R. D., Nelson, P. A., Zurbriggen, E. L., Crosby, F. J., & Chemers, M. M. (2019). The Form and Function of STEM Research Mentoring: A Mixed-Methods Analysis Focusing on Ethnically Diverse Undergraduates and Their Mentors. Emerging Adulthood (Thousand Oaks, CA)7(3), 180–193. in new window)


    Ready to apply an equity and inclusion mindset to your mentoring? Here are some strategies to get you started:


    • seek to learn more about best practices in mentoring.
    • ​​ask for feedback openly and honestly.
    • provide both practical support as well as emotional support and encouragement.
    • talk about your own identity and positionality, privileges you have, and how you navigate them in your field, instead of ignoring or avoiding the conversation.


    • attempt to provide all mentoring support by yourself, build a network of mentors and facilitate the students' connections with them.
    • avoid difficult topics such as microaggressions, stereotype threat, discrimination, and/or impostor syndrome.
    • ask or expect your student to do the work of teaching you best inclusive mentoring practices