Finding a Mentee

One-third of University of Iowa's undergraduate students participate in mentored research with a faculty or staff member before graduating. Hundreds of undergraduates from all different majors are actively seeking opportunities to work with faculty and staff on research or creative projects.  

Student painting

Determine what kind of student you are looking for.

Its not necessarily about finding a student, it is usually more about finding the right student.  A good mentor-mentee fit will ensure a better experience for everyone involved.  The University of Wisconsin-Madison offers a template of things to think about, questions to ask, and suggested readings.  Also available are suggestions for aligning mentor-mentee expectations and cultivating the young researcher.

There are many reasons that students become involved in research, and ICRU always recommends some form of compensation for students outside of the valuable skills they learn.  This can come in many forms: transcript recognition, academic credit, or even financial payment.  See our "Courses, Credits, & Certificates" section for more information about transcript recognition and course credit.


Student on computer

Reach out to students.

There are many ways that mentor-mentee pairs find each other.  Here are some common ways that mentors find undergraduates to work with.

Look for stand-out students in your classes.
If you teach a course, chances are that you can easily tell which students have a strong interest in the subject.  Take the opportunity to talk with them about your work to see if they are interested in giving it a shot.

Talk to current undergraduate researchers and graduate student TAs.
Even if you do not teach undergraduate courses, you know someone who does teach them or takes them.  Let  undergraduates that your colleagues (or you) work with currently.  They may have friends or classmantes who have been looking to get into research.  Similarly, most PhD students are or were TAs.  Use these connections to find undergraduates.  

Nanoscience bench work REU

Post an ad with ICRU. 
We have a webpage devoted to research position listings, and we encourage our students to look at it regularly. Posted positions are also sent out on our ListServ once per week and are put on our bulletin board.  

Post an ad on Hire-A-Hawk.
The Pomerantz Career Center allows UI faculty and staff to list open positions on their job search site.  UI students have exclusive access to this site. ICRU also refers students to this page.

Keep your academic profile up-to-date.
ICRU directs students to scan departmental websites to find interesting faculty and projects.  Make sure that your profile is up-to-date - there may be students out there looking for you! 

Talk to ICRU.
ICRU staff and students are in constant contact with students who are interested in doing research and creative work.  We may know of a student who would like to work with you.


Cultivate the student.

Once you have an eager student ready to work with you, time starts to fly!  Explore our "Mentoring Resources" section to find sources that we recommend.  Encourage them to participate in presentation and professional development events.  ICRU is also always happy to discuss questions or concerns that you may have.