Mentoring SURF Students
Thank you for creating opportunities for undergraduate researchers and participating in the SURF program. Your role as mentor is vital to the success of the program and may play an important role in the student’s decision to pursue a research career.
Tips for Mentoring Undergraduate Students
- Realistically assess your student’s skills, knowledge, and interests
- Create an open environment and encourage your student to ask questions
- Explain the overall goals of the project, and the student’s role
- Meet with the student on a regular basis, a fixed weekly meeting is recommended
- Clearly define your expectations and outline the student’s tasks and responsibilities
- Discuss the research schedule with the student
- Consider the length of the program, and work with the student to develop a schedule to complete various aspects of the project
- Explain the student’s role on the research team and in lab meetings
- Explain the role of other members of the team; be sure the student understands the reporting structure
- Provide guidelines and expectations regarding the lab notebook
- Provide constructive feedback, employ active listening skills
- Get to know your student on an informal basis. Talk to your student about career options, research as a career, graduate school options. Your student will appreciate your knowledge and advice
- Review the schedule of SURF activities and deadlines, and encourage your student to actively participate
Additional Mentoring Resources
- Graduate Students Mentoring Undergraduate Students: Opportunities, Expectations, and Strategies; Presentation by Dr. Sean Brophy, Purdue University
- Project Time Management: Sample Time Management Spreadsheet
- Initial Reflection on goals for student
- Meet your Mentor Assignment This document includes information about the student's tasks for getting settled into the research group and defining research goals.
- Thoughts on Mentoring, Dr. Steve Beaudoin, Purdue University
- “How to Mentor Undergraduate Researchers” Publication available online from the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR)
Safety in the Laboratory
Every SURF student must become familiar with laboratory safety practices. SURF faculty and graduate student mentors are responsible for providing a safe environment and should:
- Provide undergraduate safety orientations for their respective laboratory setting
- Coordinate additional safety training at the school level when required
- Report any laboratory accidents to the Radiological & Environmental Management Office (REM), First Report of Injury Form
SURF participants are not employees of the University and therefore are not covered under Workman's Compensation. During the summer, each SURF student is covered with limited medical insurance through the Risk Management Office. This coverage is primary but does have limitations. Any unapproved and unpaid medical expenses will be the financial responsibility of the student.
If the student needs medical assistance, contact the SURF office as soon as possible.