NCSSM Morganton

Mentorship Program


Learn more at the Morganton Mentorship Program interest meeting is TBA soon!

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.

Details for Morganton-hosted Mentorship Program will be announced with Morganton-hosted Mentorship Program and summer programs via a Zoom webinar to the Class of 2025 on Sunday, October 15 from 7:00 - 8:00 PM, including specific opportunities available for 2024-2025.

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. 

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.

Meagan Coneybeer, NCSSM Morganton Director of Mentorship and Research

Meagan Coneybeer joined NCSSM in 2021 as the Director of Mentorship and Research at NCSSM-Morganton, bringing over 15 years of prior experience in STEM education and 10 years of prior experience in educational mentorship and work-based experiential learning curriculum development. In addition to her skill as an educator, Meagan worked as the lead technical agronomist for an international plant genetics company and has experience in applied and theoretical agricultural research. She brings diverse experience from academia and industry to her position and will work one-on-one with NCSSM-Morganton students to help them realize their academic and professional goals. A native of Southwestern Pennsylvania, Meagan currently lives on a small farm in Lenoir, NC, with her two children, Celia and Samuel. In her free time, she enjoys trail running, hiking, and learning about historical food production techniques.

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.