Mentorship Program


Hands-On, Real-World Experience

The Mentorship Program provides the opportunity for a student to choose their area of interest and join an off-campus researcher and their team in an ongoing or independent research project to further their skills as a thinker/maker/doer. Student engagement in research and innovation opportunities is one of prominent avenues that NC School of Science and Mathematics carries out the school’s mission to 1) educate and nurture academically talented students to become state, national, and global leaders, 2) increase access to high quality public education in North Carolina, and 3) cultivate engaged citizens who will work for the betterment of the world. More than 80% of NCSSM graduates engage in research and innovation through an NCSSM course or program.

A Program for Every Student

The Mentorship Program is comprised of three different timelines: Mentorship 1, 2, and 3. Each program provides the opportunity for NCSSM students to engage in a research experience with an off-campus volunteer mentor in the summer and/or academic year. Prior research experience is not a criteria for participation; many students enter the program with no research experience and most mentors do not require any prior technical background or coursework in their field of study. The variety of topics students may choose to pursue are not limited by discipline or specific type of research, however available fields are dependent on the program identifying an available volunteer mentor in the Triangle which varies from year to year.

A Vehicle for Students' Growth

The Mentorship Program is recognized for its unique collaboration of mentors that provide research opportunities and act as a vehicle for student growth and the NCSSM Mentorship instructors that provide the instruction necessary for high school students to approach research with confidence, professionalism, and self-reliance. The local research scholars and professionals serve as students’ research mentors in various areas of specialization (in STEM, Social Sciences, Arts, and Humanities) and the NCSSM instructor focuses on developing and guiding students’ professional, communication, and foundational research skills. This provides students the opportunity to have a well-rounded and supported experience of in-depth exploration into a field of their interests while gaining the essential tools necessary to be successful in research and beyond.

An Opportunity for Mentorship

The Mentorship Program also provides mentors the ability to teach the next generation of young researchers. Our mentors offer direction and support as they guide their student through their own indpendent research project or integrate their student into a part of their ongoing research. They provide an experience that requires the application of knowledge and skills to address challenges in the world beyond the classroom. Over 100 mentors from around the Triangle and beyond volunteer every year to welcome students into their work environment, share their passion for their field of study, and enjoy the unique energy and curiosity that high school students bring through the Mentorship Program and in collaboration with the NCSSM instructional team.

Mentorship “consists of a reciprocal, dynamic relationship between mentor (or mentoring team) and mentee that promotes the satisfaction and development of both” (Richard McGee, 2016).