Brooklyn College of The City University of New York (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2018 Proceedings
Publication year: 2018
Page: 8123 (abstract only)
ISBN: 978-84-09-05948-5
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2018.0464
Conference name: 11th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 12-14 November, 2018
Location: Seville, Spain
National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) programs aim to broaden participation in science and engineering fields by immersing underrepresented students in a research environment under the close guidance of faculty mentors1,2. The benefits of REU programs are vast with results showing improved student academic success, autonomy, understanding of scientific findings, research productivity, lab-related abilities, and greater clarity about graduate school pursuit2-5. Students tend to be unaware of how important student-mentor relationships are prior to joining such a program, and post-program, these same students view their student-mentor relationship as a key component of their REU experience2. REU programs in combined psychology and neuroscience are scarce6. Within existing programs, there are minimal data identifying REU students’ perspectives and feedback on experiences with their mentors2,4 and nothing regarding the impact of this mentorship on personal and professional development. This study explores the positive impact that mentoring has on neuroscience and psychology REU students. Students (n=66) were 28.8% male, 71.2% female, 51.5% non-white, and completed a NSF funded 15- week mentored research experience at Brooklyn College/CUNY. Using conventional content analysis, students’ open-ended responses to the question “What do you enjoy most about working with your mentor” were significantly associated with students’ perceived growth from Week 5/Time1 assessment to Week 15/Time2 assessment. Specifically, when asked: “What do you enjoy most about working with your mentor?”, students overwhelmingly identified variations of “one-on-one time spent with my mentor”. Furthermore, when asked “What could have your mentor done to enhance your laboratory experience and facilitate progress on your independent project?”, students overwhelmingly identified ‘more one-on-one time with my mentor’. An independent samples t test highlighted the contribution of mentoring on student outcomes. Specifically, students who identified one-on-one mentoring to the question “What do you enjoy most about working with your mentor”, believed more than other REU students that they would:
(1) approach their mentor if an issue came up;
(2) seek out guidance when stuck to complete a neuroscience problem; and
(3) deal effectively with unexpected lab-related issues.

This conference poster will discuss the implications of these (and additional study findings) for improving existing intensive mentored-research programs (such as the REU) and general student-faculty mentor relationships in the sciences.
Mentoring, undergraduate research experience, student–mentor dyad.