Engaging Thinkers, Makers, Doers of the Next Generation

Do you want to learn more about becoming a mentor?

Are you ready to enroll as a mentor now?

What is the NCSSM Mentorship Program?

A Forty Year Tradition of Engaging Students in Research

3000 NCSSM graduates

have participated in

Mentorship since 1980

200 mentors

135 students

9 partner institutions

2021-2022 Partners include:

Duke University, High Point University, Kaleido, NC Central University, NC State University, RTI International, UNC-Chapel Hill, Winston Salem State University. Yale University

A Collaboration Between NCSSM and the Community


guides research


takes ownership of the experience


facilitates student development


provides funding and programmatic support

Mentor Expectations

Participating mentors are asked to:

  • offer direction and support as you guide the student on their own research project or a part of your ongoing research

  • welcome a student into your work environment

  • provide safety training and a safe environment for the student on site (and complete Form 2 of the NCSSM Scientific Review Committee paperwork to ensure safety)

  • permit NCSSM to complete an annual background check for active volunteer mentors at your site

  • communicate with the Director of Mentorship and Research as quickly as possible regarding any needs or concerns

  • to provide brief evaluations of the students' performance and development (two 5-10 minute surveys per student)

  • be enthusiastic and willing to share your passion for your field of study

  • enjoy the energy and curiosity the students bring

Student Expectations

Mentorship students will:

  • apply concepts and skills learned in the classroom to be an active participant on a portion of an ongoing project or to develop a project of their own under the guidance and instruction of the mentor

  • pursue their curiosity and passion in any variety of the wide range of fields including STEM, humanities, social science

  • take ownership of their opportunity (with facilitation from NCSSM Director and NCSSM Instructors)

  • complete all course assignments including student deliverables of written proposal and oral and/or poster presentation to the NCSSM community (assessed by NCSSM Instructors, no requirements for grading by mentors)

  • develop the personal/professional skills that will be an essential key to their success as they pursue their education and careers

  • present their accomplishments to the community at the NCSSM Research Symposium (in spring and/or summer)

To learn more, see publication by NCSSM administrators linked HERE.

NCSSM Instructor Role

Curriculum is designed to:

Integrate soft skills in the context of the research environment to maximize professional growth

NCSSM instructors assess student performance in the following assignments and activities (which vary by program):

  • Small group and individual meetings

  • Oral communications such as Elevator Pitch, 10 minute symposium presentation with slideshow

  • Written communications such as proposal writing, research paper/poster, literature review, etc.

NCSSM Funding and Support

Programmatic Support provided by:

    • NCSSM Mentorship and Research office

      • Director, Sarah Shoemaker

      • Coordinator, Mary Slawter

      • Data Management Specialist, Taylor Nguyen

      • Program Assistants, Anushka Deshmukh & Lauren Subramaniam

      • Mentorship & Research Leaders, Pranet Sharma and Kendal Win

  • Funding Support provided by:

    • Burroughs Wellcome Fund

    • NCSSM Foundation

    • NCSSM State funds