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Mentor: Motivating Engineers Through Organized Relationships

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Emerging Trends in Engineering Education Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.924.1 - 11.924.12



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Paper Authors


Brian Koehler North Carolina State University

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Brian D. Koehler is Coordinator of the First Year Engineering Program at NC State University. Teaching and research areas include: engineering education, international engineering, leadership, corporate recruiting, and supply chain management. Brian received degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville (B.S.) and NC State University (M.A. & M.B.A).

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Jerome Lavelle North Carolina State University

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Jerome P. Lavelle, Ph.D. is Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs in the College of Engineering and Associate Professor in the Department of Industrial Engineering at North Carolina State University. Dr. Lavelle’s teaching and research areas include: engineering management, project management, cost engineering, engineering economics, leadership, teamwork and personality, and engineering education. Dr. Lavelle is past chair of the ASEE Engineering Economy and Engineering Management Divisions.

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Susan Matney North Carolina State University

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Susan Matney is Associate Director of Cooperative Education at North Carolina State University, with 18 years of experience in co-op. She has served as President of the North Carolina Cooperative Education Association, is current Secretary of the Cooperative Education Division (CED) of ASEE and a graduate of the BRIDGES Academic Leadership for Women program sponsored by The UNC at Chapel Hill. Susan received degrees from Florida State University and Kansas State University.

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Mary Clare Robbins North Carolina State University

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Mary Clare Robbins, Ph.D is Coordinator of Advising in the College of Engineering at NC State University. Dr. Robbins teaching and research areas include: engineering education, engineering statics, undergraduate advising, and engineering psychology. Dr. Robbins received degrees from Duke University (B.A) and NC State University (B.S., M.S., Ph.D.).

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

MENTOR: Motivating ENgineers Through Organized Relationships


In the fall semester of 2005 the First Year Engineering Program at North Carolina State University initiated a new and exciting mentoring program for all ~1200 of our first-semester engineering students. MENTOR (Motivating ENgineers Through Organized Relationships) is a ground breaking program in terms of its size and scope, whose aim is to increase student success in engineering through early connections to a positive peer network. The successes of mentoring programs is widely documented in the literature, and indeed in the college of engineering at NC State we have two very successful mentoring programs aimed at women and minorities. The motivation for initiating the MENTOR program was to extend these successes, and to provide a mentoring experience for all ~1200 of our entering first-semester engineering students. This paper describes the background, implementation, assessment, and future plans of the program.


In order to understand the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and challenges of a program with the scope and size of the MENTOR Program, we benchmarked our plans with peer program data available in the literature. In addition, we looked at the components of our existing mentoring programs for women and minority engineers. Below are details of each of these programs – which formed the basis of our implementation and assessment plan.

Peer mentoring programs of various kinds have been part of engineering programs for a number of years.1 Initially such programs were focused on underrepresented minorities and women in engineering.2 At NC State, the Minority Engineering and Women in Engineering Programs have provided mentors for students served by their offices.

START (STudent Advancement And Retention Teams) is NC State College of Engineering’s mentoring program for minority engineering freshmen and sophomores. An early intervention and peer-mentoring program, START aims to create useful partnerships among minority engineering students. Students are paired by major, demographics, or both with an upper-class minority engineering student. START mentors act as big brothers/sisters to mentees. START teams meet on a regular basis to discuss a variety of issues, from choice of classes to securing internships. Social activities are held to allow START mentors to interact with their mentees in a non-academic setting. In 2005-2006 the START program involves 40 mentors serving 276 mentees.

At NC State, the Women in Engineering peer mentoring program, WENT (Women Engineers Networking Together) was started in 1999 as an all volunteer program to connect first year students with upper class students in the same major. Pairs are matched one-on-one, and participation is totally voluntary, with solicitation of interest made at the beginning of each semester. At the end of the fall semester, pairs are asked to assess their experience, and either member can request a rematching without prejudice. Pairs are asked to communicate once a week and meet at least once a month. Mentors are given the responsibility for maintaining the

Koehler, B., & Lavelle, J., & Matney, S., & Robbins, M. C. (2006, June), Mentor: Motivating Engineers Through Organized Relationships Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--363

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2006 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015