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Future Mentors Program

The Future Mentors program aims to prepare the next generation of research mentors by offering evidence-based and culturally aware mentor training for graduate students who are or would like to begin mentoring undergraduates in STEM research. This credit-bearing program is ideal for doctoral students who plan to pursue a career in academia or leadership roles in industry as well as undergraduate students who are looking to complete the JMHC’s scholarly project requirement.


Program Overview

Participants will enroll in a 3-credit graduate-level course (HONR 59901) in the fall semester for mentor training and practicum experience.

I. Mentor Training:

This interactive seminar provides a systematic approach to analyzing and discussing research mentorship using an evidence-based curriculum developed by the Center for the Improvement of Mentored Experiences in Research ( CIMER). Each week mentors will engage in group activities and discuss case studies centered around key topics of mentor development:

  1. Maintaining effective communication
  2. Aligning mentor and mentee expectations
  3. Assessing mentees’ understanding and needs
  4. Cultivating research ethics
  5. Fostering confidence & researcher independence
  6. Creating an equitable and inclusive research environment
  7. Building intercultural awareness
  8. Promoting professional development
  9. Crafting a statement of mentoring philosophy and plan

The seminar will also serve as a forum for participants to reflect on their mentoring relationship, discuss mentoring dilemmas, and develop strategies to address difficult situations with the help of their peers.

II. Mentorship Practicum:

Mentors will be able to experiment with various methods and develop a personal approach to mentoring by concurrently working with mentees over the course of the fall semester. Each participant will be matched with up to two undergraduate JMHC students from the mentor’s department/college (or another department/college, if preferred) who are looking to complete the college’s curricular research requirement. Mentors are expected to spend 1 to 2 hours per week on face-to-face mentoring activities including research skill training and professional development. Mentees will enroll in independent research (1 to 3 credits) in the fall semester and may choose to continue working with the mentor in the spring semester with the approval of the faculty PI. Mentors who complete HONR 59901 will be eligible for the program’s Graduate Research Mentor Award and to apply for a $500 travel award.


Open to Purdue University doctoral graduate students with the approval of their PI/dissertation chair.

Procedures for Nominations

Graduate students are invited to submit self-nominations. Nominees are responsible for obtaining their PI/advisor’s approval to enroll in HONR 59901 in the fall. The Qualtrics intake form has separate fields to briefly describe the following:

  1. Utility of the program in relation to graduate student’s career goals
  2. Mentee’s research project, including the mentee’s roles and responsibilities on the project
  3. Number of mentees (1 or 2) desired and their preferred academic majors*.
  4. Required pre-requisite skills (if any)
  5. Minimum number of hours per week mentees will be expected to spend on research-related activities

*Graduate students who are currently mentoring an Honors College student’ scholarly project may waive a new matching.


All positions for Fall 2024 have been filled. Fall 2025 recruitment will begin in January 2025.


Read the FAQs below or email Dr. Zahra Tehrani (, Director, John Martinson Honors College.


The JMHC's Undergraduate Research Fellowship is a credit-bearing opportunity for students to engage in high-quality mentored research experiences in STEM to complete the college’s scholarly project requirement. Students will be matched with Purdue faculty and graduate students enrolled in the Future Mentors program who will introduce them to research methodologies and provide mentorship in key areas of professional development for advancing education or careers. Prior research experience is not required. Students who choose to complete their scholarly project through the program will be eligible to apply for the program’s $500 travel award.

Program Requirements

Research fellows are required to:

  1. Enroll in 1 to 3 credits of independent research in the fall semester to receive academic credit for the honors curriculum. Fellows are expected to continue working with their research mentor in the spring semester, with the approval of the faculty advisor, to complete their scholarly project.
  2. Attend a fellowship meeting once a month in the fall semester. These events are an opportunity to reflect on the research experience, connect with other undergraduate researchers and alumni of the program, and engage in professional development activities.


Applicants must:

  1. Be a student in the John Martinson Honors College.
  2. Currently not be working on a scholarly project or have completed a scholarly project.
  3. Have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.

At the Honors College, we prioritize building a more inclusive environment for all students to discover their research potential and pursue scholarly endeavors. Providing effective mentorship is an integral part of this commitment. This is why we responded to the challenge laid out by the National Science Foundation to increase the representation and success of historically underrepresented students in STEM fields by creating Undergraduate Research Fellowship. While we invite applications from all Purdue Honors College students who fit the eligibility criteria, we particularly welcome applications from Black, Latinx, Native American, Pacific Islander, first-generation college, and international students.

Procedures for Applying

All positions for Fall 2024 have been filled. Fall 2025 recruitment will begin in January 2025.

Questions for mentors:

1. How much is the time commitment for mentors?

Approximately 4-5 hours per week, including the training seminar HONR 59901 (two 75-minute sessions per week), mentoring, and assignments.

2. What is the grading policy for HONR 59901?

The course curriculum emphasizes experiential learning. Under this structure, attending class, actively participating in discussions, and completing the assignments results in an A for the course.

3. Will HONR 59901 count towards my graduate coursework?

The course has been approved by the graduate school and counts towards the Intercultural Competence Mentorship Certificate. Please consult with your department to determine if it will count towards your degree program’s requirements.

4. Is HONR 59901 a letter graded course or P/NP?

Letter graded.

5. Is prior mentoring experience required?

No prior mentoring experience is needed. Anyone who is interested in building their mentoring skills can apply.

6. Can the training course be taken online?

The course is not being offered online. In-person attendance will be required.

7. Are mentors expected to develop a new research project for the mentee?

No. Undergraduate mentees typically assist on the graduate student’s own project. The mentee’s project will need to have been developed or already be underway in the mentor’s research group/lab.

8. Are mentees expected to satisfy any Honors College requirements through this program?

All students in the Honors College must complete a " Scholarly Project" (SP) as part of their curricular requirements. One of the goals of the Future Mentors program is to connect students with mentored research experiences that will lead to the completion of this requirement. To satisfy the scholarly project, students must engage in a sustained research experience that generates new knowledge and culminates in the public dissemination of their work (e.g., present at the Purdue Undergraduate Research Conference or a national conference, submit a paper to JPUR, etc.). Presentations at lab/group meetings will not count.

9. Can the mentee’s scholarly project be a review paper?

A review paper alone will not satisfy the requirements of the scholarly project; however, systematic review or meta-analysis may satisfy the requirements of the scholarly project.

10. Do mentees need to be paid?

No. Mentees will enroll in independent research for 1 to 3 credits and receive academic credit for their work which will count towards the Honors College curriculum requirements. The faculty PI is responsible for establishing an independent research course for the mentee(s) at the start of the fall semester. Alternatively, mentees could elect to be financially compensated; however, they may not receive both academic credit and financial compensation.

11. Will mentors receive financial compensation?

No. Graduate students will receive 3 credits for the graduate course HONR 59901.

12. Will the mentees be first-year students?

No. The mentees will be second-, third-, or fourth-year undergraduate students from the Honors College. Mentors can specify any pre-requisite skills or a preferred year-of-study of mentees on the application.

13. I am currently mentoring an undergraduate student. Can I still participate in the program without mentoring additional students?

You may still participate in the program if your current mentee is a student in the Honors College. If your mentee is not a student in the Honors College, your application will be accepted and placed on a waiting list.

14. Can mentees work on the same scholarly project?

Yes. Mentees may work collaboratively on the same project as long as they each have distinct roles and responsibilities.

Questions for mentees:

1. What are the requirements of the Honors College scholarly project?

All students in the Honors College must complete a " Scholarly Project" (SP) as part of their curricular requirements. To satisfy the scholarly project, students must engage in a sustained research experience that generates new knowledge and culminates in the public dissemination of their work (e.g., present at the Purdue Undergraduate Research Conference or a national conference, submit a paper to JPUR, etc.). Presentations at lab/group meetings will not count.

2. How many semesters of research do I need to satisfy the scholarly project requirement?

The Honors College does not require a minimum number of semesters for satisfying the scholarly project. Typically, students complete a scholarly project over two or more semesters. For students who want to complete a scholarly project in one semester, it is strongly recommended that they enroll in 3 credits of independent research to ensure they have generated enough knowledge to satisfy the public dissemination requirement of the scholarly project.

3. Are there any on-campus opportunities to present my scholarly project?

There are three undergraduate research conferences (summer, fall, spring) held on campus every year. All conferences have in-person and virtual presentation options. Please visit the Office Undergraduate Research for details.

4. Are there any deliverables due at the end of the fall semester?

The expected deliverables and grading of mentees will be determined by the faculty advisor. All deliverables will need to be specified in the mentor-mentee agreement at the beginning of the semester. Students will be mentored by graduate students from the Future Mentors program, which may require mentors to engage in specific activities with their mentees or mentees complete a few assignments during the semester.

5. Am I required to enroll in independent research?

Yes. Independent research courses count towards your Honors elective credits (and look good on a transcript!). It may also satisfy your degree program's requirements. Check with your primary college for details.


Effective mentorship is essential for success in undergraduate research experiences. The purpose of this award is to recognize graduate students of the Future Mentors Program who have demonstrated excellence in mentoring undergraduate researchers in the John Martinson Honors College (JMHC). One awardee will be announced in the fall and spring semesters.


Graduate students who have completed the Future Mentors training program (HONR 59901) and served as a mentor on a completed or near-complete student scholarly project are eligible to be nominated for the Outstanding Graduate Research Mentor Award. Nominations must be made by JMHC student mentees. Graduate students are also welcome to submit self-nominations. Mentors are not eligible to receive the award more than once.

Procedures for Nomination

Nominations must be submitted by November 1 or April 1.

Submit a Nomination

Awarding Process

Applications will be reviewed by a panel of faculty, staff, and alumni of the Future Mentors program.

Evaluation of the nominees will be based on:

  • A statement of mentoring philosophy
  • A brief summary of mentoring accomplishments
  • The mentee’s evaluation of skills in key areas of research mentorship
  • A letter of support from the mentee

For self-nominations, mentees will be contacted by the award committee and asked to submit an evaluation and letter of support for the mentor. The winner will receive an award of $250 and be posted on the Future Mentors Program website.

Previous Award Recipients

Spring 2024

  • Carlay L. Teed, Biological Sciences, College of Science. Principal Investigator: Esteban Fernandez-Juricic (tie)
  • Karthik Vijay Annur Myilswamy, Electrical and Computer Engineering, College of Engineering. Principal Investigator: Esteban Fernandez-Juricic (tie)

Fall 2023

  • Surbhi Sood, Medicinal Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, College of Pharmacy. Principal Investigator: Emily C. Dykhuizen

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