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SC 09 Mentor/ Protégé Program FAQ

As a mentor, how much time should I spend with my protégé?

We recommend that you spend at least one session with your protege. This can be coffee, lunch, or just a relaxing chat. You then may decide to participate in a few other activities together throughout the conference. An initial meeting, plus one or two activities (tour of the exhibit floor, technical session, booth duty, lunch discussion, corporate event, etc.) would be ideal. If you do not have the time to have at least one initial meeting, please let us know, and we will assign your protégé another mentor.

When should I meet my protégé / mentor?

You can set up a time to meet your protégé or mentor any time that suits you both, but should be a consistent time so you both know when you can definitely catch each other. We recommend that you schedule the first meeting early in the week to be of some benefit for the protégés during the remainder of the conference. We will be hosting an informal Mentor/Protégé activity on Monday afternoon November 16 from 1:30 – 3:00 in room B113-116, this is a terrific opportunity for Mentors and Proteges to get to know each other in an informal, fun environment.

Do you have any suggested meeting places?

  • The student participants (many of the protégés ) have an Orientation on Sunday, November 15, at 5:30pm.  If mentors would like to arrange to meet with their protégés before the Orientation, that would be convenient for them, and a nice kick-off to their week.
  • The Monday Evening Gala may also be a good place to meet and discuss on a very informal basis, to get to know one another.  Landmarks may be a little tricky!
  • The Mentor/Protégé activity is scheduled for Monday, November 16 from 1:30 – 3:00pm in room B113-116. This is an excellent time to connect in a fun and informal environment.
  • The Mentor Station, located in the Broader Engagement Lounge in room B112  is always a convenient place to meet and find one another at any time during the conference. The Mentor Station will provide a place for Mentors and Protégés to sit and chat, a message board for communication, and a desktop workstation to enhance communication between Mentors and Protégés.
  • When looking for places to lunch, have coffee, etc., there are many places within walking distance of the Convention Center. You can consult the conference website,, for more information on places nearby.

Should I call or email my mentor/protégé prior to SC09?

Absolutely! We recommend emailing to arrange the first meeting so that you have your initial plans set before you arrive. You can begin your networking before the event.

What kinds of things should we do/talk about?

For many of the protégés, this is their first SC. They would likely want some tips as to where they should spend their time, how to get the most out of the conference, how to easily navigate the conference, etc. We have made an effort to match mentors and protégés according to technical backgrounds and goals, so mentors may be able to talk about career goals with their protégés. It is also important for both of you to discuss your expectations on beginning this new relationship at the conference and hopefully beyond the conference. In any case, it would be a good idea for mentors to start the conversation by asking your protégé what they would like to get out of the association, what they would like to discuss, and what kinds of activities they would like to do. Remember, if their goals and wishes for the association are totally contrary to yours, or you don't think you can provide the protégé what they are looking for, you can contact the Mentor Program co-chairs and request a change. Of course we hope this will not happen, but we would rather find another mentor for the protégé, and have a harmonious match, than have a poor experience.

What should I do if I cannot find the protégé/mentor I am assigned?

If you have trouble in communicating with your protégé or mentor before you arrive, or in finding your protégé/mentor when you arrive at the conference, or could not contact him/her prior to the conference, please try the message board in the Mentoring Station located in the Broader Engagement lounge in room B112.  You can also contact either of the Mentor Program co-chairs and we will try to locate your protégé/mentor for you.

What can I do to ensure that the experience is rewarding for the protégé?

Set expectations, interests and goal—short- and long-term. Make sure that there is a clear understanding and agreement between protégé and mentor.

What can I do to help promote the sustainability of the program?

Give us feedback on your experience and also communicate via the conference survey that you think this is a worthwhile program. Any suggestions you have for improving it are very welcome.

What metrics are being used to measure the success of this program?

Just a few of the metrics we use to evaluate the program are:

  • Number of mentors recruited for the program
  • Feedback of mentors and protégés who participated in the program
  • Number of times mentors/protégés were able to meet
  • Variety of Activities mentors/protégés participated in together
  • Longevity of the relationship - beyond the SC09 conference

Do you have any suggestions for the novice mentor to ensure that the experience works for both mentor and protégé?

  • Make sure that expectations are clearly defined and agreed between mentor and protégé
  • Pull together a plan to help make a good experience

What activities are mandatory for the mentor/protégé?

We want you to meet with your mentor/protégé for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour (one session/meeting) during the conference. If you cannot spend at least one meeting, or session with the mentor/protégé assigned to you, please contact the Mentor Program co-chairs so we can make alternate assignments.

Are there any deadlines or reporting requirements?

We would like for mentors/protégés to meet at some time during the conference, but by Tuesday, if possible. This will give everyone an opportunity to meet with their mentor/ protégé at the beginning of the conference, so that you might meet again, if you wish.  We will send you an evaluation to complete after the conference. Although completion of this evaluation is not mandatory, your feedback will help us to improve the program and provide a better program in future years. We encourage you to complete the evaluation in a timely manner.

Who do I contact in the event of an emergency?

If a life-threatening or personal emergency occurs while in the Convention Center, the appropriate first action would be to call 4111 (and yes, that is a 4 with three 1's) from a house phone or contact any one of the SC09 committee members.  SC09 Committee volunteers will be individuals with picture badges or a badge that has committee on it.

If there is a major emergency affecting the overall conference, we [Security/Response Team/Committee] will provide a communication path to let all attendees, exhibitors and staffs be made aware of problems, threats (weather in particular), conference status and mitigations. You can also call The Mentor Program Co-Chairs: Cindy Sievers,, 505-695-9570 or Jamika Burge, 814-865-1045,, or the Broader Engagement Program Chair, Tiki Suarez-Brown,

What's the first step?

Email your protégé/mentor and set up that first meeting! Have fun!

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