APS Bridge Program

Mentoring and Advising

Students in successful bridge programs have multiple mentors, including research advisors, academic advisors, and peer mentors. Building trust in each of these mentoring relationships helps students be more forthcoming about struggles that may impact their work, and allows students and mentors to work together to identify and prepare for career opportunities.

In addition to individual mentor‒mentee relationships, “constellation mentoring” can help students succeed. Constellation mentoring involves multiple people (a constellation) collectively mentoring an individual student. Selection of mentors can be tailored to a student’s unique needs. A student may need a mentor to:

Establishing a network of mentors and maintaining a regular meeting schedule keeps students on track and provides troubleshooting if problems arise. Here, we describe some effective practices for building productive mentor‒mentee relationships.

Effective Practices

Mentors should build trusting and productive relationships with mentees.

Build faculty’s mentor awareness and skills by offering mentor training. Senior students may benefit from formalized mentor training as well. The Physics Research Mentor Training Seminar can be found on the APS website.

Establish regular meetings for faculty to discuss individual student progress and strategies for support.

Build multiple mentors into each student’s mentoring plan.

Foster a mix of formal and informal mentoring relationships within the department.