IMPact Program Overview

The APS Industry Mentoring for Physicists (IMPact) program is intended to connect graduate students and postdocs with physicists who have experience working in industry. Topics for discussion can include daily activities, project selection, conference attendance, and resume advice. The interactions are designed to be short-term, and we suggest four discussions during 3-4 months. Of course mentors and mentees can continue to stay connected in the future since building a network is an essential aspect of a career in industry.

The Matching Process

Both Mentors and Mentees start by verifying their APS Membership, then completing a brief profile. The software then suggests matches to the mentee based on geography, technical discipline, or other criteria the mentee can choose. Once a request is made:

  1. The mentor receives an email with the request, and can choose to accept or decline the request.
  2. The student will receive an email notification with the mentor's decision.
  3. If accepted, the student should reach out to make first contact. If declined, then the student will need to search the database for another mentor and make another request.
  4. Students can only request 2 mentors at any given time. Therefore, it's very important that mentors respond to requests in a timely fashion. If a request receives no response, the student is free to cancel the request and search for another mentor.
Mentors can accept or decline invitations to connect, and can have 1-2 mentees at a time. Mentees can connect with multiple mentors in sequence to obtain information from different perspectives.

Frequently asked questions

What is expected of me?

Mentors are expected to provide their mentee with about one hour of support and interaction per month. Most of this interaction will take place via web-related tools (for example, Zoom or WhatsApp). Face-to-face meetings are also encouraged, if possible. Mentors should work with their mentee to determine what kind of support will be most useful—general career advice, information on higher education, technical information, personal encouragement, and so on.

How long will the mentoring relationship be?

We ask our mentors to make commitments of at least three to four months to ensure that the mentee is able to fully benefit from the relationship. If a mentor must leave the relationship early, we request at least one month's notice in order to search for a replacement mentor with similar background.

Are there any potential risks to me or my institution?

No. It is not appropriate for mentors to engage in any business transactions with their mentees; instead, the relationship should only involve the flow of general information and advice.

What should I do if the relationship is not going well or I am concerned about mentoring relationship?

We encourage being open with your mentor/mentee to let them know about the situation. If you are not comfortable doing so, please contact the program administrator immediately. We will provide our full support to resolve the situation in a positive and satisfactory manner. If you believe there is a Code of Conduct violation, you can submit a report via Ethicspoint. You should also familiarize yourself with the APS Code of Conduct.

How do I choose a mentor?

First complete your profile with information on what help you are looking for. Then browse through the list of mentors and send a request to your preferred mentor. Take care not to overly limit your pool of mentors by narrowing the type of background a mentor has. Many skills are applicable across multiple disciplines. The most important facet of mentoring pairs is a personality match rather than similar professional backgrounds or interests.

Do I have to be an APS member to participate?

Both mentors and mentees must be APS members to participate. Undergraduate students receive their first year of APS membership for free. If you're not yet a member, it's quick and easy to become an APS member.