A recent scientific study, motivated by the need for mentors for women studying STEMfields, took aim at what you’re looking for in a great mentor. Along the way, it also discovered some surprising takeaways about avoiding mentors that won’t help you be a rising star.

Dr. Nilanjana Dasgupta from the University of Massachusetts and her graduate student Tara Dennehy conducted a detailed, multi-year study on the effects of mentorship. Dasgupta’s particular area of research focuses on diversity in the hiring, retention, and success of employees from underrepresented groups. In this study, 150 women studying engineering were assigned to have either no mentor, a male mentor, or a female mentor. Going into the study, they all had similar grades and academic aptitude. They met with mentors monthly for the same amount of time and rated how they felt about the mentors in an online monthly survey created by the researchers.


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