Approach to Mentor Sourcing

Obtaining a mentor can occur in one of two ways:


  1. The student approaches the mentor with a specific project proposal and the mentor can then accept, deny or modify the project before accepting the student into their lab.

  1. A student contacts a mentor with their general research interests and once the student is accepted into a lab, they will work with the mentor to develop a project.

  • If this option is chosen, the student should submit their SBC application with their proposal before reaching out to potential mentors. Click here to apply.

  • If you need help finding a mentor, submit your application online here and you will receive a follow up email with a list of people to reach out to.


  • If this option is chosen, the student needs to submit their application once they have developed a proposal with their mentor. Click here to apply.

  • Ensure you have sufficient background knowledge and are familiar with each 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 lab.

  • If you need help finding a mentor, send an email to sbc@pirweb.org with your name, full name of your school, the city you live in and a list of people you have tried to contact already, you will receive a follow up email with a list of people to reach out to next.

No matter which option is chosen, ALL applications (with proposals) must be in by January 14th, 2019. If option 2 is chosen, a mentor is not found by the beginning of January and the student would still like to participate, they should start writing a project proposal and submit their application online before the deadline.

All projects must be aligned with a mentor by January 31st, 2019.

Remember: An application can be submitted before alignment with a mentor however a proposal must be submitted with each application.

Click here to view the SBC proposal requirements for the application.

“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 professor and possible mentors at your local university of 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

How to Source a Mentor

Potential Mentor Search:

  1. Determine your research interests
  2. 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
  3. 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, the mentor does not have to have a lab near you, virtual mentorships are possible
    • Remember that if your proposal or interests are very specific the number of possible mentors is reduced significantly

Start Reaching Out:

  1. Start reaching out to people on your list as soon as possible, send an email and follow up with telephone call
    • In your email be sure to include, your name, grade, school, your proposal (or project idea), 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 to meet them at the convenience of their schedule
  2. 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
  3. If your potential mentor is unable to supervise you, ask if they have a grad student or know of someone else who might be available.

*REMEMBER – GRADUATE STUDENTS CAN ACT AS SBC MENTORS – UNDER THE GUIDANCE OF THEIR UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR/PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR*

Following Up with Potential Mentors:

  • Do not get discouraged. Remember 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
  • If you get a negative response, just keep reaching out. You may have to contact several researchers before you are able to secure your mentor. If you continue to have difficulty contact Ben Hobbs, or Brent Peltola for help (bhobbs@pirweb.org) (bpeltola@pirweb.org)
  • When you do get accepted into a lab remember to email Ben or Brent to update you in the system.