One of the first steps to get started on research/creative work is to find a mentor to guide you. Careful thought and planning should go into the process of determining possible mentors, presenting yourself and your research/creative work to prospective mentors, and then formally requesting mentorship.
While your mentor can be someone you find suitable, please note that UROP requires Project and Presentation funding applicants to have a faculty mentor who meets at least one of the following criteria:
- Tenured/tenure-track faculty at the UHM (including the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) and the University of Hawai‘i Cancer Center)
- Regular or Cooperating Graduate Faculty (at any level) at UHM classified by the University of Hawaii at Mānoa Graduate Division.
- Have submitted and granted a Faculty Mentor Eligibility Petition
The above information may not be universally available, and we recommend you ask directly to your potential mentors or your department of interest.
If you already have an active UHM faculty member in mind to mentor your research/creative work, please be sure to ask if they fit our criteria and exercise proper academic and professional etiquette in your communications.
Don't know where to start? Take a look at the tips below.
- Develop a list of prospective mentors. The first person you ask may not fit our “mentor criteria” or may not agree to mentor you.
- Did you take an interesting class or took a class from a UHM faculty member that you enjoyed? Consider them as your potential mentor!
- Do you have a field that you are interested in? Look at their departmental websites’ faculty page; it may include biographies and their research interests.
- Need some ideas and examples? Check out our Past Projects and Presentations page. We list the UHM faculty along with the projects they mentored.
- Your mentor does not need to be in your department. You have the entire UHM, JABSOM, and the Cancer Center faculty to choose your mentor from!
- Do not wait until the last minute. Building relationships can take time!
- Request a meeting to discuss your ideas
- Draft, proofread, and edit a formal email introducing yourself
- Let them know the purpose of your meeting
- Explain your situation and project ideas
- Be sure to use appropriate titles (e.g., Dr. Soandso, etc.)
- Attach a 1-2 page CV for reference
- They don’t fit our mentor criteria?
- They might know someone who would be a better fit for your project, who fits our mentor criteria. Ask them if they know any faculty that might be interested in mentoring you.
- Use appropriate titles (e.g., Dr. Soandso, etc.) unless asked otherwise
- Bring a hard copy of your CV for reference
- Dress appropriately
- Present your project ideas at the meeting
- This is your chance to convince them of the value of and your investment in your project
- Ensure they will be available to you for guidance for the duration of your project
- Be sure they understand the depth of the relationship
- Ask them about their research and explore the expertise they can offer to your project
- Value their time and express gratitude verbally
- Send a follow-up email to reiterate your gratitude
- Carbon copy – i.e., CC – your mentor on all email communications with UROP, except for emails regarding personal or financial aid information you do not wish to share
- Be sure your mentor can get in touch with you as necessary