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FAQ for Mentors - SESUR (mostly)

Information Sessions for Mentors
We invite you to a session to learn more about mentoring in the undergraduate research programs at Stanford Earth.  Thursdays at 4 pm in Mitchell Bldg, room 138 (outside door on patio). First round of Project Descriptions are due on December 18.

  • November 30, 2017
  • January 11, 2018

Who is eligible to submit a proposed project description?
Graduate students, postdocs, faculty, and researchers in the School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences can submit a project description, however, at least one of the listed project advisors must be a faculty member affiliated with the School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences.  If you have questions about exceptions to this rule, please ask.  The faculty members are expected to mentor the undergraduate students. If you are working on a project that does not involve your SE3 faculty advisor, the project is probably not eligible for a SESUR grant.

What should be included in the proposed project description? 
Please review these guidelines on crafting an enticing and well-written research synopsis.  This is your advertisement to prospective students. 

What is the difference between SESUR and SURGE? 
SESUR is our research program for Stanford undergraduates, and SURGE is a program that brings diverse students from other universities to Stanford for the summer. SURGE students are typically juniors or seniors, whereas SESUR students are more often freshmen and sophomores. 

What sorts of projects are appropriate? 
While the nature of the summer research conducted by students is varied, the best projects are those that give the student a degree of independence and allow them to feel a sense of intellectual ownership within the larger framework of your own research. When designing a project, think about how the student will be able to guide the work and make their own decisions about directions and methods. Feel free to consult the archives to get a sense for previous projects. First round of Project Descriptions are due on December 18.

What sort of students can I expect to hear from? 
SESUR is open to all undergraduates, regardless of major, and is targeted specifically at freshmen and sophomores. While upper-level students are welcome to apply, students who have been already been working on a proposed project for a year or more may find that the UAR Major Grant or the Earth Systems Volpert Award (for Earth Systems majors only) is a better fit. As a mentor, you should be prepared to put in the time necessary to help your mentee get up to speed with any special skills or knowledge they will need to be successful. Be sure to include any required background in your proposal, but realize that demanding a high level of prerequisite expertise will narrow the pool of interested students. 

What should I do if multiple students want to work on my project? 
It is up to you to select one student whom you will aid in writing their research proposal for your project. If you would like to work with multiple students, you will need to have multiple distinct projects for which they would write proposals. If you are proposing multiple projects, depending on funding availability, it may be the case that you are asked to assist with supporting (or locating support for) additional students. 

Do students receive any training prior to the summer? 
All students accepted to SESUR are required to complete a 1-unit research preparation course in the Spring Quarter prior to their research experience. The goal for this class is to introduce students to the process of scientific research and communication, to familiarize them with their topic, and to start the communication process with their mentor. This is an ideal time for you to begin working with the student on skills they will need to be successful during the summer (e.g. learning a piece of software or training needed to work in a laboratory). 

How do I help with the proposal for SESUR?
• We ask that you work with the students to develop a reseasonable project for them.
• After the proposal is submitted, you will be asked for one paragraph on whether, and if so, how the proposed research integrates with their own projects and if so what will be the separate intellectural property of the SESUR student. 

What is expected of me as a mentor? 
There are a number of expectations for graduate student and postdoctoral mentors working with students. All mentors are required to do the following:
• Attend your mentee’s presentation in EARTH 100 during spring quarter (SESUR mentors only).
• Participate in one of the School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences Mentoring in Research Workshops during Spring Quarter.  These workshops will be offered on two occasions and last ~2.5 hours. Mentors are required to participate in one workshop session. (Mentors who have participated in a previous mentoring workshop are excused from this requirement.)
• Attend one mentoring lunch during the summer.  Mentoring lunches provide a valuable opportunity to check in with the program directors, troubleshoot problems, and learn from other mentors.
• Attend your mentee’s final research presentation at SURPS, the School's Undergrad Research Symposium, ASURPS, the SES Research Review, or at a professional meeting such as the AGU fall meeting. (SURGE mentors only: Attend your mentee’s final research presentation at the SURGE Symposium in August).

For additional questions, please contact Jennifer Saltzman (SESUR) or Lupe Carrillo (SURGE).