CISTAR Mentoring Resources for CISTAR Fellows Industry Mentoring Program

The overarching goals of this site are: to promote mindfulness in mentoring and build a mentoring community.  We hope these beginning resources, and what everyone contributes, are helpful and facilitate relationship growth among all the mentors and mentees in CISTAR's Industry Mentorship Program.

CISTAR Industry Mentoring Program 2024

  • Coordinators: Mariam Balogun, Ricem Diaz Arroyo, Bo-Wei Cynthia Chen, Xinrui Zhang, Luke Denoyer, Peter Keeling, Denise Driscoll, Maeve Drummond
  • Contact:, 

1. Goal

Connect CISTAR fellows with industry professionals with relevant technical expertise and career experience such that the fellow receives regular feedback on career goals, research questions, and personal development.

2. Schedule

a. January: Kickoff meeting with mentors and mentees January 17th, 2024 10 AM CST
b. February: Meeting at pairing convenience
c. March: Meeting at pairing convenience
• Mid-check-in with mentees only (Week of March 25th, 2024)
d. April: Meeting at pairing convenience
e. May: Meeting at pairing convenience
f. June: Final meeting with mentors and mentees (Week of June 3rd, 2024)

3. Scope

Fellows and mentors will be assigned as pairs and are expected to communicate regularly, i.e., 6-8 times over the academic semester (at least once a month). Video conferencing is preferred, but email communication can be substituted if fellows and mentors have trouble finding a mutually agreeable meeting time. Fellows are expected to come to meetings prepared with something to discuss with their mentors as well as follow up on feedback received during previous meetings. Mentors are expected to make time for mentoring meetings, giving their attention and providing candid feedback to fellows.  

At the beginning of the mentoring relationship, in addition to a general overview of themselves, fellows should provide mentors with a list of goals that they wish to work towards and areas where they want to improve. Mentors and mentees should discuss their expectations from each other during the mentorship. To give mentees helpful perspective, mentors should be honest and forthcoming with relevant experiences, both those that are painful in addition to success stories. In addition, to the extent possible, mentors should provide detailed technical feedback on the fellows’ research if desired. Beyond these stipulations, the mentor-mentee relationship should remain open-ended and flexible, allowing for adaptation for specific circumstances and consistent focus on issues of importance to the mentee. Meetings should be scheduled promptly, and appointments kept in order to respect the time of all participants.

A kickoff meeting will be organized by the coordinators at the beginning of the semester in order to provide structure and discuss resources, facilitate the initial communication between mentors and mentees, and provide an opportunity for mentor-mentee pairings to share their expectations and experiences with the group as a whole. A check-in meeting with mentees only will occur in March, and the program will finish at the beginning of June. Surveys will be given to try to improve the program for the cycle.

Mentoring Resources

To have success in mentoring, it is important to prioritize building connections between a mentor and mentee that are professional (i.e., finding common research areas of interest) as well as social (i.e., finding personal ways of connecting).   Here are some resources to help you get to know each other professionally and personally.

Recommended for Early-on Meetings
Some Interesting and Meaningful Conversation-Starters 

How courage and recognizing the power of the situation is needed to create an ethical culture

What do you think of this quote about leadership? "Before you become a leader, success is all about growing yourself.  After you become a leader, success is about growing others.  - Jack Welch, CEO General Electrics

Learning and Talking about Imposter Syndrome

Short PowerPoint to identify Imposter Syndrome

A NY Times Article about dealing with Imposter Syndrome

Mentor-Mentee Expectations (Northwestern Network Mentorship Program website)
A Fun Activity if Thinking of a Job

Try to do a "mock" job interview and ask your mentor to give you good feedback.

When reflecting on one's past mentoring experiences, probably everyone can recall when it went well, and why, and when it didn't go so well, and why.  However, it helps to know more about how to maximize the benefits and minimize the costs of being in a mentoring relationship.  Here are some resources to help you think more about mentoring and, more generally, working well with others.

Consider this analogy from a naturalist on mentoring: 

In "The Mentors Guide by Lois Zachary (2000), there is a great analogy for mentoring. When trees start growing again in a forest where there were trees before, the roots of the trees that went before help to strengthen the roots of the trees now growing. The trees now growing end up having stronger and deeper roots. Consequently, these trees are better able to help younger trees that are growing nearby because their stronger and more extensive root system helps the root system of these younger trees to grow strong. 

What are the benefits of being a mentor discussed in The Mentor's Guide by Zachary (2000)?

Reflection - the habit of critical reflection when mentoring can be internalized and carry over to additional aspects of one's life, enriching and bringing more satisfaction to other relationships and activities.

Renewal - the enthusiasm and excitement of one's mentee can give a renewed sense of purpose and a boost of energy to one's own work and life.

Consider the most commonly reported reasons why mentoring fails: 

See below from in Further Investigation of Protégés’ Negative Mentoring Experiences Patterns and Outcomes by Eby and Allen (2002) the most common reasons people have negative mentoring experiences.

Negative Mentoring Experiences - Highest Mean Percentage Reported Frequency to Lowest: 

  • Bad fit/mismatched values
  • Mismatched personalities
  • Mismatched workstyles
  • Distancing behavior/Exclusion
  • Neglect
  • Self-absorption *
  • Manipulative behavior
  • Abuse of power
  • Credit taking *
  • Sabotage
  • Overt deceit
  • Don't have the expertise needed *
  • Interpersonally lacking
  • Bad attitude/dysfunctional person
  • Personal problems

* Highest reported "Very Frequently to Almost Always" frequencies

Videos to watch and discuss with Mentee

To improve mentoring, it is important to understanding your partner in the mentoring relationship.  One fun, informative way to better understand each other is to take different types of assessments (i.e., Are you introverted or extroverted?  Task oriented or relationship oriented?). 

Here are some (free) fun and informative online assessments that you could take and share results:

High5 - a free strengths test


A site for all kinds of tests to "Understand who you truly are" (i.e., The Big Five; TypeFinder for the Workplace)

A site that demonstrates the mind’s blindspots and then helps you learn via tests how to make better decisions in life and at work

Cautionary Note:  Keep in mind that such assessments often "type" or categorize people, but everyone can grow or shift their style or change (i.e., I may be task-oriented, but I do realize when traveling to more relationship-oriented cultures, or when on a team with more relationship-oriented people, that I need to be more relationship-oriented myself).  Still, it is helpful to realize more about one another and preferred styles or personality orientations.

It is also useful to assess how the mentoring relationship is going. 

Here are some starter questions a mentor might introduce into the meeting to see if you both are on the same page:

  • Do you feel that you are getting some of the questions that you had answered?
  • Is there anything else that you'd like to learn from me or ask me? 
  • Should we revisit and talk more about any topic that we already discussed?  

Here are some starter questions that a mentee may ask to assess the mentoring relationship:

  • Is there anything more that I need to be doing to respond to what we have been discussing?
  • Do you feel that I need to work more on some areas of my professional development given what we've discussed?

At a recent mentoring UNM conference, I was struck by how much the "themes" around mentoring have changed post-COVID to emphasize the importance of building relationships.   Here are a few topics that helped me re-examine my mentoring style:

If you have anything that you've read or thought about that you'd like to see added here, please just email me at!

We will be planning a final meeting together as a group to help facilitate this process of putting closure on mentoring.  In the meantime, here are some helpful tips:

Celebrate Learning and Growth

One should prepare for a closing that celebrates learning and growth.  We often don't take the time to acknowledge where we began and what we might have learned along the way.  By making it explicit -- being more mindful of our goals, abilities, and skills at the start vs. the finish of the mentoring program -- we can better appreciate the learning and growth that did take place.

  • Think about writing down how you were positively affected by the mentoring relationship, both personally and professionally; share your thoughts with each other

  • Revisit the expectations, goals, abilities, and skills that were discussed early on; where did you see the most growth? 

Questions to Reflect Back

Here are some questions to ask yourself when reflecting on the year: 

  • What did I learn personally and/or professionally about myself'?
  • What do I now feel are my mentoring-related weaknesses and strengths?
  • What will I do the same or differently the next time I am in a mentoring relationship?
  • What other thoughts or feelings do I need to acknowledge to put closure on this mentoring relationship?