Mentoring with APS IMPact

Volunteering to serve as a mentor in the APS IMPact program is an excellent opportunity for you to give back to the community and play a vital role in nurturing the next generation of scientists.

What are the benefits of mentoring?

By engaging with a mentee, you can enhance your leadership skills, and learn to effectively communicate with scientists at different career stages. Mentors and mentees can develop long-lasting relationships if they wish, and mentoring is an excellent way to tap into a global pool of young physics talent. Build your knowledge of workplace issues affecting the next generation of industry physicists, learn about new strategic opportunities, and gain a broader understanding of your field by becoming an IMPact mentor today.

Do I qualify to serve as an IMPact mentor?

To participate as a mentor in APS IMPact, you must be a current member of APS working in industry. Mentors can range in career stage from post docs to senior scientists. The most important requirements are that a mentor is dedicated to providing guidance and has knowledge and experience that will be useful to the mentee. Mentors are expected to commit roughly an hour once a month over 3-4 months.

IMPact mentoring timeline

Program objectives are best reached with consistent and regular check-ins. Within a week of being matched, the mentee should contact their mentor to establish an initial meeting. After the first meeting the mentor and mentee should establish a regular schedule to meet and discuss progress. Mentors are asked to meet with their mentee monthly for approximately 30 minutes. In most cases, meetings will be held virtually.

Requirements to participate in IMPact mentoring

Mentors must fill out an information form, which includes basic questions about:

  • The mentor's research interests
  • The mentor's areas of expertise to provide advice and guidance
  • Prior mentoring experience
  • A short paragraph describing your interest in mentoring
  • Students in the program will be able to review the above information to select the mentor that is best matched to their professional goals. It is up to both the mentor and the mentee whether or not they wish to continue communicating. Mentors are also expected to fill out online evaluations.

Dos and don’ts for mentors


  1. Commit to at least one interaction/hour of support per month.
  2. Take responsibility to initiate the relationship.
  3. Set aside time for the mentoring process and honor all appointments.
  4. Invite the mentee to meetings or activities, as appropriate. Schedule meetings with planned topics.
  5. Be flexible on meeting times and places.
  6. Arrange frequent contacts through Zoom, telephone, email, or face-to-face, if possible.
  7. Respond to emails from your mentee within two days of receipt.
  8. Keep information that your mentee has shared with you confidential. If something concerning the mentee needs to be discussed with others, it should first be discussed within the mentoring relationship.
  9. Establish open and honest communication and a forum for idea exchange.
  10. Foster creativity and independence. Help your mentee build self-confidence and offer encouragement.
  11. Provide honest and timely feedback to your mentee.
  12. Provide opportunities for the mentee to talk about concerns and ask questions.
  13. Above all, listen.


  1. Try to give advice on everything. You don’t need to have the answers to all your mentees' questions. Your job is to answer the questions that you can and to connect your mentee to resources if there is a question you cannot answer.
  2. Encourage mentee to be totally dependent upon you.
  3. Provide your personal history, problems, animosities, successes, failures, etc. unless they are constructive contributions.
  4. Be too busy when the mentee needs your advice or support. If you do not have time, give the mentee a heads up, so that they know when they can reach you.

Some activities for mentors to do with their mentees:

  • Discuss how your education prepared you for your career
  • Ask questions about a student's gifts and passions
  • Share information about a current event or issue in your field
  • Recommend helpful networking strategies
  • Introduce your student to colleagues or other contacts
  • Offer guidance on where to look for job/internships in your field
  • Critique your student's resume and/or cover letter
  • Lead your student through a mock interview

Note: Mentors are not to provide nor are they expected to provide advice on visas and extensions. Mentees should seek advice from appropriate authorities.