NCSSM Morganton

Mentorship Program

Learn more about the Morganton Mentorship Program at the Resarch, Innovation & Design Fair on
Saturday, October 21 from 3:00 - 4:30 PM at the Academic Commons

About the Morganton Mentorship Program

NCSSM Morganton-hosted student experiences are diverse with research scholars and professionals at research universities, companies, and nonprofit agencies in Western NC.  The range of topics and fields of interest widely vary (STEM, social sciences and humanities).  Each year partnerships are established by NCSSM Morganton’s Director of Mentorship and Research prior to the fall application and the mentors participating are invited to attend the NCSSM Morganton-hosted events to meet students and answer questions about the experiences they are offering.

Current Students to Contact

Applying to Mentorship

NCSSM Morganton-hosted Mentorship Program is open to all Residential and Online juniors to apply in October-November.  Students applying for Morganton-hosted Mentorship are choosing and applying to specific program mentors of interest as well as applying to the Mentorship Program as a whole. Mentors’ opportunity timelines are matched to one of the three specific to the program timelines (Summer, Academic Year, or Extended which includes both timelines). 

Mentors are involved in the application decisions as they select students for their opportunity in combination with the NCSSM Mentorship application review. Prior experience is not a criteria for participation; many students enter the program with no previous professional or research experience and mentors most often do not require any prior technical background or coursework in their field of study.  Any prerequisites or requirements will be specified in the opportunity description.  The variety of topics students can choose to pursue are dependent on the availability of specific mentors offering opportunities which may vary from year to year. 

Maximum Positions Available for Class of 2025
Appliction Support Sessions

Securing a Mentor

Morganton-hosted Mentorship students will have a secured mentor for the Mentorship experience upon acceptance to the program.  Accepted students will be paired with one of the specific mentor opportunities they chose to apply to as part of the Mentorship Program. 

Students do NOT ask mentors directly at any point before or during the Mentorship Program as all partners are established by the NCSSM Morganton Director of Mentorship and Research.

Christiane Burkins, NCSSM Morganton Director of Mentorship and Research

Christiane Burkins is the Director of Mentorship and Research for our Morganton campus. Before joining NCSSM in March 2024, she served as Internship and Partnership Coordinator at the Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science and Technology in Lawrenceville, Georgia. At the Gwinnett School, she managed a year-long, STEM-based internship program for 250+ seniors and also coordinated a quarterly STEM speaker series which hosted professionals from academia and industry. Prior to becoming an educator, Christiane held various director positions in communications, marketing and human resources. She earned her bachelor’s in English from Presbyterian College, and her Master of Arts in Teaching from Georgia State University. In her spare time, Christiane studies and writes about food anthropology, and enjoys cooking, hiking, reading, and spending time with her family and dogs.

Collyn Gaffney, NCSSM Morganton Instructor of Mentorship and Research

Collyn Gaffney joined the NCSSM-Morganton team in June 2022 as an Instructor of Mentorship and Research. She began her teaching career in 2006 in Boise, Idaho. Aside from teaching core courses of history, math, and ELA, Collyn has enjoyed teaching Big History Project, morphology, improv, and coaching First Lego League, Science Olympiad, and Fishing Team. Prior to her 16 years in the classroom, she spent 13+ years in the radio, TV, and film industry in both North Carolina and Idaho. Collyn enjoys being on the NCSSM team and exploring western North Carolina. Her daughter is a NCSSM Class of 2013 alum.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can be my mentor?

Students apply to a predetermined Opportunity Catalog of mentors representing research universities, industry, medicine and non-profits. During application, students are able to rank and indicate preference for the opportunity of their choice and experiences are offered in all disciplines. 

Will I get to do my own research or will I be working on my mentor's project?

Mentors are recruiting students for specific projects. When students review the Opportunity Catalog, they will be able to read detailed descriptions of each experience and apply to those that most closely align with their interests. 

Class of 2025 Mentorship Programs at NCSSM Morganton

Summary of Mentorship Programs
Morganton Opportunity Catalog
NCSSM-Morganton Mentorship & SRIP Opportunity Catalog 2024-2025.pdf