Q: What is MentorNet?
A: MentorNet is an online mentoring platform designed to connect mentors and protégés (or mentees) for short-term one-on-one informational mentoring sessions. They also provide guidance to mentees, training for mentors, and conversational prompts to make the most of the mentoring experience for everyone. The mentor/mentee pair could be in the same field (i.e., planetary science) or across any field you specify in academe or industry. When you sign up for MentorNet in association with DPS, MentorNet preferentially pairs you with other DPS members, but the entire MentorNet mentoring pool is still available for you as well.
Q: What type of commitment is required on the mentor end (i.e. hours a week/month)?
A: Past MentorNet participants spent 15-20 minutes per week (according to the MentorNet organization), but the mentor and mentee decide on the frequency and duration of their communication. The pair receives conversational prompts via e-mail relevant to the protégés educational level and personal interests as a starting point for the discussion. Mentor and protégé can communicate via Skype, phone call, e-mail, or with MentorNet’s on-platform chat interface. Each mentor/protégé match lasts four months. After this period, the pair can choose to remain matched, or be matched with someone else.
Q: How are mentors and mentees matched? When do they get matched?
A: Protégés are given a list of recommended mentors based on their profile (see question 4 for detail on how to set up your profile). When setting up your profile, you should select the AAS/DPS as your affiliation so that we can keep track of usage (and whether we want to keep paying MentorNet for these services) and also so that you are more likely to receive a planetary scientist as a potential match (please note: you do not have to be officially registered with AAS to take part in this program). The protégé then selects a mentor from the pool, and the mentor has the opportunity to accept or decline the protégé. If accepted, then the cycle begins; if declined, then the protégé can choose another mentor from the pool.
Q: Who is eligible to be a protégé?
A: Currently MentorNet requires the mentee to be 18 years or older and located in the United States. However, the program is not limited to just students. Anyone who is interested in diversifying their mentorship is welcome to join as a protégé.
Q: Who is eligible to be a mentor?
A: Anyone who feels comfortable and is interested in mentoring.
Q: How do I sign up as a protégé?
A: Step 1) Go to this website. Make an account with MentorNet, and indicate your member type as ‘mentee’. Use your .edu e-mail address if you have one. You will receive a verification e-mail with a link to complete the account setup.
Step 2) Now, you can set up your profile! There are five categories for you to fill out. Each step has a short video tutorial that guides you though the process.
- Personal Details: This includes your account information as well as your short personal narrative.
- Work Experience
- Education Experience
- Questions About Me: There are 15 questions in this categories, all pretty straight forward. The 7th question “Are you affiliated with any of MentorNet’s partner organizations or programs?” is where you will check the American Astronomical Society Division for Planetary Sciences (AAS DPS) box (it should be the first option in the drop- down menu). Checking this box insures you will be match with a planetary scientist.
- Match Questions: In this section you, the mentee, can indicate stipulations for who your mentor is (i.e., education level, or specific experience).
Step 3) Choose a mentor from your recommendation list. You can click on the Mentor profile and read what they wrote for their personal narratives.
Q: How do I sign up as a mentor?
A: Step 1) Go to this website. Make an account with MentorNet, and indicate your member type as ‘mentor’. You will receive a verification e-mail with a link to complete the account setup.
Step 2) Now, you can set up your profile! There are several categories for you to fill out. Each step has a short video tutorial that guides you though the process. You will have a chance to input what topics you feel comfortable discussing with a mentee.
Step 3) After you finish your profile, you will be offered potential mentees in the future (sometimes this happens quickly, other times it takes a bit), and you have the option to accept or decline based on your availability and comfort level with the particular mentee request.
Q: I’ve never been a mentor before, how will I know what to do?
A: MentorNet provides training sessions for both mentors and protégés. Topics include the basics of mentoring (based on the Socratic method) and effective communication.
Q: Why should I sign up for MentorNet as a protégé?
A: This type of service is great for students or early career scientists in the field of planetary science because we have such an interdisciplinary field. For example, you may be able to find a mentor who is in a related field to yours, but might have some different insights. It is also a good way to talk with planetary scientists who aren't strictly in academia. Or perhaps you would like to talk to someone in industry to see what their career path has been like. MentorNet has implemented best practices in guiding mentorships in an online platform and it gives the protégés an opportunity to grow their network outside of their current institution. Please note the mentor availability varies, but we are currently growing the program. If you don’t find a suitable mentor right away, check back in a few months. MentorNet is intended more for general mentoring and career advice, not necessarily for scientific advice.
Q: Can I register as both a mentor and a protégé?
A: Yes! You can be both a mentor and mentee by signing up with two separate MentorNet accounts with two separate e-mail addresses.
If you have further questions or trouble registering, please contact Audrey Martin and Kelsi Singer. We also welcome any feedback you have about MentorNet, good or bad, for DPS planning purposes. We also have a working relationship with MentorNet and they are open to changing things based on feedback.