Asee peer logo

Mentor: Motivating Engineers Through Organized Relationships

Download Paper |


2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Collaboration Provides the Best Education

Tagged Division

Cooperative & Experiential Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.1056.1 - 12.1056.11



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Brian Koehler North Carolina State University

visit author page

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).

visit author page

author page

Susan Matney North Carolina State University

author page

Jerome Lavelle North Carolina State University

author page

Mary Clare Robbins North Carolina State University

Download Paper |

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

MENTOR: Motivating ENgineers Through Organized Relationships Year Two Implementation


Undergraduate engineering students benefit from exposure to upper-class students and other networking opportunities. MENTOR (Motivating ENgineers Through Organized Relationships), a unique and innovative program in year two of implementation at NC State University, links 1400 students in our First Year Engineering Program to 350 co-op students. By working together through MENTOR first year engineers learn about successfully navigating their freshman year, are exposed to cooperative education, and improve their understanding of the engineering profession. Co-op mentors enhance their professional development as role models, share undergraduate experiences, and participate in a career-building experience. This paper describes the design and second year implementation of the MENTOR program including lessons-learned and future plans for the retention of engineering students at a large, diverse, research extensive university.

Background 1

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.1 In order to understand the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and challenges of a program of this magnitude, we benchmarked our plans with peer program data available in the literature. The success of mentoring programs is widely documented, and in the college of engineering at NC State we already had two very successful mentoring programs aimed at women and minorities. Below are details of each of these programs – which formed the basis of our implementation and assessment plan.

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 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 involved 40 mentors serving 276 mentees, and in 2006-07 the program has 25 mentors serving 135 mentees.

WENT (Women Engineers Networking Together) is the NC State Women in Engineering peer mentoring program, 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 re-matching 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 relationship and are

Koehler, B., & Matney, S., & Lavelle, J., & Robbins, M. C. (2007, June), Mentor: Motivating Engineers Through Organized Relationships Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--1752

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: © 2007 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