Mentoring - Considerations for Students and their Mentors

The Principles of Mentoring

When participating in a mentoring relationship, Youth Science Canada asks that all mentors and mentees review these guidelines, in order to develop a rewarding, beneficial relationship for all who are involved.

Youth Science Canada is dedicated to nurturing the scientific impulse, creativity, and dedication amongst Canadian youth - encouraging them to develop scientific and technical knowledge and skills through project-based science. We are inspired by the potential of Canada’s youth to improve the world through science and we make programs and resources to help realize that potential. We recognize that mentorship from those established in the Canadian scientific community can provide an enriching relationship for youth engaged in project-based science, adding to knowledge and experience.

A mentor is a teacher, guide, or advisor who works with an individual who is developing their scientific knowledge and expertise, providing support, insight, and resources from their own scientific background and experience. Mentors encourage and empower youth involved in project-based science to help them succeed and discover their own abilities and passions in a supportive, non-judgemental manner. Mentors provide an environment in which youth may learn and grow, whether that be in a laboratory setting, or virtual communication.

Mentors benefit from their participation by raising their academic and community profile and developing a relationship with a member of Canada’s youth.

It is the student’s role, and not the mentor’s, to conceive the project’s specific topic. All data taking must be the student’s own, unless the student does not represent it as his or her own and credits the actual data taker properly. Similarly, analysis of the data, the write-up of the project, and any public presentation of thereof are also exclusively the student’s responsibility. A student undertaking a mentored project has the responsibility to disclose that her/his project was mentored and by whom.

Responsibilities of Mentors and Mentees:

  • Treat your mentor or mentee with respect at all times;
  • Commit sufficient time and effort towards your mentorship. Set clear expectations for each other;
  • Always communicate in a truthful manner;
  • Do not accept/offer any kind of payment for your mentoring relationship
  • Maintain the confidentiality of the mentoring relationship
  • Read and respect Youth Science Canada's Academic Integrity Policy.

Responsibility of Mentors:

  • Support and encourage the goals of your mentee - be enthusiastic and share your love of science;
  • Encourage your mentee to maintain high scientific and ethical standards;
  • Provide advice, guidance, and access to facilities or equipment not otherwise available to your mentee where possible;
  • Ensure that your mentee is an active participant;
  • Avoid the intent or appearance of unethical or compromising practice in communications, actions, and relationships;
  • Maintain the confidentiality of all ideas, products, and materials that a mentee has, or may develop. Do not use any ideas, products, or materials from your mentee in order to further your academic, business, or financial career;
  • Acknowledge any conflicts of interest relative to competitions involving the project to your mentee;
  • Do not make inquiries regarding the decisions made by judges in competitions in which the project is entered;
  • Refer your mentee to Youth Science Canada for issues or questions that you feel unqualified to answer;
  • Always maintain a professional relationship with your mentee.
  • For the protection of the mentor and the student, all meetings should be held in the presence of others during business hours, at the student’s school in the presence of a teacher or staff member, or at another location with a parent or guardian present.

Responsibility of Mentees:

  • Clearly communicate your goals and needs for your project to your mentor;
  • Maintain the confidentiality of the mentoring relationship;
  • Communicate regularly and openly with your mentor;
  • Complete any tasks you have agreed to do with your mentor in a timely manner; Maintain the confidentiality of all ideas, products, and materials that your mentor has, or may develop.
  • Hold all sensitive scientific information provided through the relationship with your mentor in strict confidence.
  • Always maintain a professional relationship with your mentor.

Levels of Mentorship

Youth Science Canada defines the following levels of mentorship:

  1. Student does not receive any mentoring.
  2. Student exchanges a few emails or phone calls, and/or meets with the mentor once or twice to discuss the student’s ideas.
  3. Student occasionally contacts the mentor by email or phone, and/or meets occasionally with the mentor who provided some advice or materials.
  4. Student has regular contact with the mentor by email or phone, and/or meets regularly with the mentor who provides advice, materials, assistance with design/testing, or data analysis.
  5. Student has regular face-to-face contact with the mentor and regular access to advice, materials, space, equipment, design/testing, or other personnel in a specialized facility.
  6. Student works closely with the mentor over an extended period of time to develop the project idea, plan and conduct the research/development, and analyze the results or test the innovation.

Finalists will be asked to enter the level of mentorship received when they register for the Canada-Wide Science Fair.

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science