A Friend in STEM


What is A Friend in STEM?

A Friend in STEM​ is a mentorship program that connects undergraduate students with scientist mentors at the University of Minnesota. As scientists, we know from experience that pursuing a career in STEM requires building a network of research and faculty mentors. However, we also realize that forming these connections can be difficult and intimidating. It is our goal through this program to leverage our experiences in graduate school and in labs at UMN to work for students - to help inform decisions about undergraduate research and support students if/when they choose to pursue graduate degrees. We believe that careers in STEM should be accessible to everyone and we hope that connecting with a Minnesota scientist will help students feel welcomed to this research community.  

How does it work?

Program Goals

Frequently Asked Questions

Will all mentors be paired with students? 

We do our best to pair students with mentors that have similar interests and career goals. We cannot guarantee that all mentors will be paired with students. Usually there is a surplus of mentors.

What is the time commitment for Friend in STEM?

Friend in STEM does not have a requirement for number or frequency of meetings for mentors and mentees. We leave it up to you and the student to figure out what works best and what is needed to achieve the student’s goals. It is our hope that this freedom will allow you and the student to decide how much time each of you is willing/able to invest. Some students would just like to meet once as an “informational interview” while others meet periodically with their mentors or even begin working in the lab of their mentor. 

What if my student doesn’t respond to my emails? 

Please let us know if you cannot get a hold of your student. If that is the case, we will attempt to contact them again. In the case that students do not respond, we will open you up to be a mentor for another student. 

What if I get too busy and can’t meet with my student? 

We understand that the life of a scientist can be stressful and busy. Please let us know if you would like to withdraw yourself from being a mentor so we can pair that student with another mentor. 

Do you provide any mentoring resources for us?

We recognize that many of our mentors have previous experience with mentoring and therefore, we do not have a required mentoring information session. 

There is great information about mentoring found at the Center for Translational Medicine if you are interested in learning more about mentoring. There is also a newly launched podcast called The Science of Mentorship from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.

What if I have other questions? 

Please feel free to send any additional questions to friendinstem@umn.edu

Mentorship Expectations

Mentorship Guidelines

Before your first meeting

During your first meeting


Resources for intentional, inclusive, and uplifting mentorship:

Resources for your Mentees:

COVID-19 Mentorship Recommendations