We’re ready to support young scientists like you from across Canada, whether you’re in school or at home. In the months leading up to our new virtual competition, we’ll place you with a professional mentor so that you can conduct research and collaborate using new online tools that we’ll provide free-of-charge and where possible, you may also test your theories in a real-life laboratory setting.
SBC STEPS UP WITH VIRTUAL MENTORSHIPS
Mentorship goes virtual this year, and with geography no longer a factor, you’ll have access to mentors from across Canada from SBC’s extensive volunteer bank. You will work with a professional mentor via videoconference or other remote means, and, should local restrictions allow, mentors can also provide in-person lab access on a case-by-case basis.
To make it even easier, SBC will be providing you with free access to several online apps, including videoconference, video editing and file-sharing services as part of our new ‘Virtual Mentorship Toolbox’.
Looking to be placed with a mentor? You’ll need to register with us NO LATER THAN December 18, 2020.
How do I get placed with mentor?
The match between student and mentor is a crucial one, and SBC is here to make the connection. Mentors will help guide and refine your project, and help ensure you are following appropriate scientific methodologies and procedures. While SBC will help place you with a mentor as part of registration, if you don’t already have one, you can also line up a mentor on your own BEFORE your register. Finding the right SBC mentor can go one of two ways:
To be placed with a mentor through SBC, you MUST submit your registration by December 18, 2020.
- If this option is chosen, you should submit your SBC registration with your proposal BEFORE reaching out to potential mentors. Click here to register.
- SBC will provide you with a list of potential mentors according to your project proposal. You will receive a follow-up email upon registration with a list of potential mentors to reach out to.
Students registering after December 18 must engage their own mentors; SBC will be unable to guarantee mentor placement after that date.
If you’d prefer, you can attempt to recruit a mentor on your own. While this may be more difficult, sometimes this results in a stronger, long-term relationship. Please note that you should contact a potential mentor FIRST with your general research interests, before starting your SBC registration process. They will work with you to develop your project. A couple of handy tips:
- Ensure you have good background knowledge and are familiar with your potential mentor’s research before reaching out to them.
- Have an idea surrounding the kind of experiment you would like to do and how you will fit into that mentor’s research focus.
Refine Your Search
To better focus your mentor search, we recommend the following steps:
- Determine your research interests
- Search for relevant mentors in your area:
- Find all research institutions in your area;
- Go to each institution’s research page online (you may have to go through each specific faculty to find a research page) and search keywords relating to your desired research area, include any faculty members that come up during your search in your list of potential mentors;
- Alternatively you can search the research institution’s entire website using the search bar on the home page however the results will not be as focused
- Compile a list of potential mentors in your area:
- Your list should include mentors who are doing research you are interested in and have labs close enough to you;
- If a wet lab is not needed for the experiment, or the mentor cannot provide access to a lab near you, virtual mentorships are possible;
- Remember that if your proposal or interests are very specific, the number of potential mentors is reduced significantly.
Start Reaching Out
- Start reaching out to people on your list as soon as possible, send an email and follow up with a telephone call:
- In your email, be sure to include, your name, grade, school, goals and info about SBC;
- Express why you are interested in working with them and ensure you have good background knowledge about their research;
- Attach your completed proposal or research ideas and explain why you will fit well into their lab.
- Ask your potential mentors if they would be willing to meet with you to review and provide their expert opinion on your proposal and consider acting as your mentor:
- Ensure that you make the potential mentor aware that you are able to adjust / change / revise the project in a manner that fits with the work of the lab.
- If your potential mentor is unable to supervise you, ask if they have a graduate student or know of someone else who might willing and available.
- *REMEMBER – GRADUATE STUDENTS CAN ACT AS SBC MENTORS – UNDER THE GUIDANCE OF THEIR UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR/PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR*
- Don’t get discouraged. Many potential mentors have a very busy schedule. If you do not hear back after a few days – follow up with an additional email and/or phone call.
- If a potential mentor is unable to assist you, ask if they may have graduate students who could mentor you or if they can provide suggestions of other researchers for you to contact.
- When you do get accepted into a lab, remember to login to your profile to update the mentor information in the registration system.
If you’ve selected a mentor on your own, SBC will NOT attempt to place you with a new mentor.
Already have a mentor?
That’s wonderful news! But if you’re still looking for expert support, SBC organizers have an extensive professional network that can help you take your project to the next level. We’ll put you in contact with the right professionals, ensuring that you have access to the resources you need.
“Don’t be afraid to talk with researchers and professors! Do some research first and find your passion in science whether it’s agriculture, life sciences, medicine, engineering and everything in between! Try and find like-minded professors and possible mentors at your local university or college. Establish a dialogue with them and show them how much you care and what a difference you can make to the general scientific community and beyond! Ask yourself what kind of contribution you want to make and how you can help others whether it’s feeding the world and providing better access to nutritious food or finding a cure for cancer.”
Dr. Mark Belmonte, Past Mentor, Associate Professor at University of Manitoba