Information for Mentors | Co-Mentors | Mentoring
Who May Serve as a Mentor for an Amgen Scholar?
All Caltech faculty members and JPL scientists including research,
teaching, and visiting faculty, the professional staff, and faculty
associates may serve as mentors in disciplines of interest to Amgen
including: biochemistry; bioengineering; bioinformatics; chemical
and biomolecular engineering; biopsychology; biotechnology; chemistry;
immunology; medical pharmacology; microbiology; molecular genetics;
molecular medicine; molecular pharmacology; molecular, cell, and
developmental biology; neurobiology; neuroscience; pathology; physiological
psychology; physiological science; statistics; and toxicology.
JPL mentors may have additional responsibilities related to JPL/NASA
The Role of a Mentor
The primary role of the mentor is to serve as the senior partner in collaboration with the student. Our hope is that through their participation in an undergraduate research project, students will be able to develop a research question, problem, or design; apply basic principles and knowledge found in the literature related to the research question; develop a research proposal to address or resolve a specific research question or problem; apply and evaluate methodology throughout project; collect, interpret, and critique data in order to resolve a research question or evaluate a design; communicate research findings; and appreciate what the process of scientific research entails. It is important that the student be offered—and eventually accept—intellectual responsibility for his/her own project, so it is critical the a mentor be a teacher, a coach, and a partner.
The primary responsibilities of the mentor are to prepare for the student’s arrival and to help the student meet all of the requirements of the program under which the student is registered; however, there are a number of specific responsibilities that each mentor will have in preparing for the project and in guiding the student through it during the summer:
- Caltech faculty and JPL technical staff mentors may write an Announcement of Opportunity
(AO) to notify students of potential projects in their laboratories. The
AO should outline the background, motivation, and objectives of the project
and the nature of the work the student will do, and provide literature references
or web sites where the student will be able to learn more about the subject.
AOs are submitted online. Potential mentors will be sent instructions for posting AOs in the fall.
- Consult with the student on the planning of the project and review a draft of the student's proposal. Note that the proposal should be the student’s product; the mentor may not write it, but may and should provide advice and guidance during its preparation.
- Complete the online Mentor Recommendation Form. Mentors will be prompted by the SFP Online system to complete the
evaluation when the student has submitted his/her application. Contact the
SFPO at 626.395.2885 or via email if you
have questions or need further information.
- Notify the Student-Faculty Programs
Office of the name of the co-mentor, if applicable.
- Mentor must be aware of the date of arrival of the student and make relevant preparations, including providing a place for the student to sit, a computer, and a telephone.
- During the first week after the student’s arrival, the student will be required to attend a Safety Orientation Meeting. Following the meeting, the mentor or laboratory safety officer must review with the student the Workplace Specific Safety Orientation Checklist and, with the student, sign the form. The student must return the signed form to the Student-Faculty Programs Office. Students at JPL will follow the JPL safety trainnig procedures.
- During the summer, the mentor oversees the student's work on the project and consults at regular and appropriate intervals.
- If a mentor notices that students are not showing up regularly or seem to have personal, academic, or research challenges, they should contact the SFP office immediately.
- Sign the progress reports and abstract which the student must submit throughout the summer. Mentors should use the progress reports as an opportunity to discuss research progress, problems, etc. Students should use the reports to practice technical writing skills.
- Collaborate with the student in writing the abstract and final
report. The final report must be submitted electronically by the fourth Friday in
September. Mentors will receive a prompt from the SFP Online system to approve
the paper online. November 1 is the deadline for approved final reports.
- Help the student prepare for the final presentation, normally
given during the third week in August or on the third Saturday in October.
A final presentation, either oral or poster, is a requirement for all the students in SFP-sponsored programs.
- Mentors/co-mentors are invited to introduce the student at the oral presentation. We encourage lab groups to attend the presentation to support and encourage the student!
- Contact the Student-Faculty Programs Office [Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 626.395.2885] if administrative problems arise.
The stipend is $5,500 and is paid by a generous grant from the Amgen Foundation. Mentors are required to pay research-related costs.
Mentor Recommendation Forms
An applicant’s file contains an electronic application, proposal, and letters of recommendation from faculty at the student’s college or university. Non-Caltech student applicant files will also have a transcript. Mentors will have secure, confidential online access to these application parts. Mentors are required to complete an online evaluation of their applicants.
Mentors will be prompted by the SFP Online system to complete the evaluation when the student has submitted his/her application. Please contact the SFPO at 626.395.2885 or via email if you have questions or need further information.
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