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Title: Work-in-Progress: The Design and Implementation of EFRI-Research Experience in Mentoring Catalyst Initiative Paper
The National Science Foundation (NSF) Emerging Frontiers and Innovation (EFRI) Research Experience and Mentoring (REM) program nationally supports hands-on research and ongoing mentorship in STEM fields at various universities and colleges. The NSF EFRI-REM Mentoring Catalyst initiative was designed to build and train these robust, interactive research mentoring communities that are composed of faculty, postdoctoral associates and graduate student mentors, to broaden participation of underrepresented groups in STEM research who are funded through NSF EFRI-REM. This work-in-progress paper describes the first five years of this initiative, where interactive training programs were implemented from multiple frameworks of effective mentoring. Principal investigators, postdoctoral associates and graduate students are often expected to develop and establish mentoring plans without any formal training in how to be effective mentors. Since the start of this initiative, over 300 faculty, postdoctoral associates and graduate students have been trained on promising practices, strategies, and tools to enhance their research mentoring experiences. In addition to formal mentor training, opportunities to foster a community of practice with current mentors and past mentor training participants (sage mentors) were provided. During these interactions, promising mentoring practices were shared to benefit the mentors and the different mentoring populations that the EFRI-REMs serve. The community of practice connected a diverse group of institutions and faculty to help the EFRI-REM community in its goal of broadening participation across a range of STEM disciplines. Those institutions are then able to discuss, distill and disseminate best practices around the mentoring of participants through targeted mentored training beyond the EFRI-REM at their home institutions. Not only does the EFRI-REM Catalyst initiative focus on broadening participation via strategic training of research mentors, it also empowers mentees, including undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral associates, in their research experiences through an entering research undergraduate course and formal mentoring training workshops. Future expansion to other academic units (e.g., colleges, universities) builds on the research collaborations and the initiatives developed and presented in this work-in-progress paper. A long-term goal is to provide insights via collaborative meetings (e.g., webinars, presentations) for STEM and related faculty who are assembling an infrastructure (e.g., proposals for the ERFI-REM program) across a range of research structures. In summary, this work-in-progress paper provides a description of the design and implementation of this initiative, preliminary findings, expanding interactions to other NSF supported Engineering Research Centers, and the future directions of the EFRI-REM Mentoring Catalyst initiative.  more » « less
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ASEE Annual Conference proceedings
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National Science Foundation
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