Asee peer logo

Perceptions of shared experiences in mentoring relationships: a collaborative autoethnography

Download Paper |


2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Minneapolis, MN

Publication Date

August 23, 2022

Start Date

June 26, 2022

End Date

June 29, 2022

Conference Session

ERM: Mentoring for Everyone! And Let's talk about Graduate Students

Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Paul Jensen


Julie Martin The Ohio State University

visit author page

Julie P. Martin is a Fellow of ASEE and an associate professor of Engineering Education at The Ohio State University. Julie’s professional mission is to create environments that elevate and expand the research community. She is the editor-in-chief of Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering, where her vision is to create a culture of constructive peer review in academic publishing. Julie is a former NSF program director for engineering education and frequently works with faculty to help them write proposals and navigate the proposal preparation and grant management processes. She was a 2009 NSF CAREER awardee for her work operationalizing social capital for engineering education. More recently, Julie has encouraged the engineering education research community to embrace methodological activism, a paradigm whereby researchers intentionally choose methods for the political purpose of empowering marginalized populations. Learn more about her research team, Elevate, at

visit author page


Deepthi Suresh

visit author page

I am a graduate student in biomedical engineering with a research focus in engineering education. I seek to improve the undergraduate experiences of other biomedical engineering students in ways such as better preparing them for industry positions or offering them new opportunities during their time as undergraduates.

visit author page

Download Paper |


This research paper describes an autoethnographic study of three individuals: Julie, a tenured faculty member and experienced engineering education researcher, and two novice engineering education researchers, Paul, a more junior faculty member, and Deepthi, a graduate student. The tripartite mentoring relationship between us formed as part of a National Science Foundation Research Initiation in Engineering Formation (NSF RIEF) project. We grounded our work in the cognitive apprenticeship model of mentoring and theory of social capital, asking the question: How do mentors and mentees perceive shared experiences? Over the course of 16 months, we collected data in the form of reflective journal entries and transcripts from individual and joint interviews, combining these with other documentation such as emails and text messages. We analyzed these data by identifying three critical incidents over the course of the relationship to date and comparing each of our perceptions of these shared experiences. We found that our perceptions of the shared experiences differed greatly, providing multiple opportunities to improve our future communication. We also discovered that our initial mentoring model in which Julie mentored Paul and Paul mentored Deepthi did not withstand scrutiny. Because Paul was new to engineering education research, it was better for Julie to mentor both Paul and Deepthi than to expect Paul to teach Deepthi topics and methods that were new to him. We assert that other projects would benefit by this approach as well. Our findings offer broad implications for the efficacy of reflection and communication in mentoring relationships.

Jensen, P., & Martin, J., & Suresh, D. (2022, August), Perceptions of shared experiences in mentoring relationships: a collaborative autoethnography Paper presented at 2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Minneapolis, MN. 10.18260/1-2--41058

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: © 2022 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