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Exploring a New Mentorship Model: From One-on-One to Flash Mentoring

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

College Industry Partnerships Division Technical Session 1

Tagged Division

College Industry Partnerships

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Paper Authors


Marissa H. Forbes University of San Diego

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Marissa Forbes, PhD is a Research Associate in the University of San Diego Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering, where she works on the Engineering Exchange for Social Justice (ExSJ). Her research areas include broadening participation in engineering education, engineering for social and eco-justice, and water justice. Dr. Forbes earned her MS and PhD from the University of Colorado Boulder in Civil (environmental) Engineering. She previously served as the project manager and lead editor of the NSF-funded TeachEngineering digital library (, a free library of K-12 engineering curriculum), during which she mentored NSF GK-12 Fellows and NSF Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) participants from across the country on the creation and publication of their original engineering curriculum. Dr. Forbes is a former high school physics and engineering teacher and a former NSF GK-12 Fellow.

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Chell A. Roberts University of San Diego

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Chell Roberts is the founding Dean of the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering at the University of San Diego. He is the PI of an NSF RED grant that seeks to infuse social justice, peace, humanitarian practice, and sustainability into the engineering curriculum - recognizing that engineering is sociotechnical by nature.

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In Fall 2018, the University of San Diego’s Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering (SMSE) launched the Industry Scholars Mentorship Program (ISMP) as a year-long program for a dozen nominated junior engineering students to develop their professional skills through industry mentorship. The program is a product of SMSE’s National Science Foundation Revolutionizing Engineering Departments grant, Developing Changemaking Engineers. For the 2020-2021 cohort, we changed the program model from traditional, one-on-one paired mentorship to “flash mentorship.” In the flash mentorship model, students initiate one-time (or more, if they choose) mentorship meetings with a mentor of their choice each month. The students select their mentors from a pool of industry professionals curated from the SMSE industry advisory board, their colleagues, and select SMSE alumni. In this paper, we share our flash mentorship program structure, activities, and timeline, and report on our preliminary findings (from surveys and interviews), successes, and challenges from running the program in the hopes of making this scalable model accessible to others who may be interested in implementing it. Our salient preliminary finding is that the flash mentorship program model is effective and appealing to students; however, sustaining student engagement is a challenge.

Forbes, M. H., & Roberts, C. A. (2021, July), Exploring a New Mentorship Model: From One-on-One to Flash Mentoring Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference.

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