The Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences

Mentors – finding one, working with one, and being one

Having a good mentor, or group of mentors, can make your graduate school experience significantly better. A mentor can be your thesis adviser, members of your thesis committee, other faculty members, or senior members of your lab. Alternatively, learning to be a good mentor, to undergraduates or younger graduate students, is also a valuable skill. For tips on how to find a good mentor, how to successfully work with a mentor, and how to be a good mentor, check out these resources.


Online resources:



  • Volunteer to be a peer mentor with first-year students in your graduate program -- contact your program chair!
  • Get involved with outreach events with student organizations you are part of or with the Eberly College of Science
  • Get involved with a mentoring program through Penn State or through your own undergraduate institution
  • Volunteer with youth in the community, such as with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America or Centre County Youth Service Bureau
  • Talk with your adviser about mentoring a high school or undergraduate student in your lab
  • Network with other students, faculty members, invited speakers, and at conferences to find mentors who might be a good fit for you
  • If considering a career outside of academia, try to find a mentor in your career of interest