Paired Mentoring Program

IAAMCS undergraduates looking to attend graduate CS programs and graduate students in CS programs will be paired with graduates affiliated with IAAMCS. In addition, graduate students will be paired with industry or academic  mentors. The program will include quarterly virtual check-ins between each mentor and mentee pair, during which a checklist will be provided to the mentee as a baseline of topics to explore. Guidelines, videos, and other resources (including those from other alliances) will be shared with the mentees. After the meeting, the mentor will provide a status update, and any prospective issues where the IAAMCS leadership team may be able to assist.

Leader – Dr. Justin Ballenger

Do you need a mentor? 

Are you an undergraduate or graduate student in a Computing program? Do you need encouragement to optimize opportunities in and outside of school? Or perhaps you could use helpful tips on navigating academia, internships, and options after graduation. What does it take to zhuzh your CV/resume for leadership positions in the Tech industry or government agency?  Please consider joining us for the Graduate Student Paired Mentoring Program and explore how to use your time in school wisely. 

We need mentors!

Are you a graduate student who participates (or has participated) in IAAMCS activities and wants to mentor undergraduate and graduate students? Would you like to give back to the IAAMCS community? Do you have tips on applying to and navigating through graduate school that would help someone on their academic journey? What advice would you give to them? Please consider becoming a mentor for the Graduate Student Paired Mentoring Program to help someone coming along behind you to find their way. 

Are you a faculty member with a focus in Computing or a leader in the Tech industry who can recount their journey from school to first to your present-day position? Maybe you work in a government agency and are responsible for computing for your department or across the nation. We need your insight, advice, guidance, and support to diversify the Computing pathway in multiple arenas. You may help us by serving as mentors to undergraduate and graduate students. Please consider signing up as a mentor for the Graduate Student Paired Mentoring Program to help cultivate the diversity needs of today. 


All are welcome to participate whether it is for the entire program or a one-time drop in during a quarterly meetup. The goal of this series is to provide culturally responsive 1-on-1 and group mentoring that will 1) encourage participants by engaging in the IAAMCS community; 2) empower mentees to pursue their academic, research, and industry careers with confidence; and 3) facilitate matching between mentors who hold a wealth of knowledge, experience and expertise and mentees who are eager to take active roles in their journeys.  Join the IAAMCS Community! Click here to get matched and learn more about our other program opportunities. 

How can you participate? 

  1. Find your match at the Mentor Matching Meetup
    • Complete the IAAMCS Graduate Student Paired Mentoring Program – Mentor Matching Survey
    • Initial Mentor Matching Meetup – April 18, 2023 at 3:30 pm
      • From 3/22/23-4/18/23 we will collect mentor matching survey results and draft mentoring pairs and groups.
      • On April 18th we’ll share with you our draft mentoring pairs and groups. You will also have a chance to explore your options.
    • Mentor Matching on a Rolling Basis: After the Initial Mentor Matching Meetup, we will
      • Match you (with a pair or group) based on your survey results within 7 business days.
      • Provide you with a few choices for paired mentoring or mentoring groups.
      • Explore your options and share your top 2 options.
      • Connect you with your paired mentor or mentoring group.
      • Update you on where we are in the program.
      • Share resources provided up until the day you join.
  2. Attend the Quarterly Virtual Mentoring Meetups – April, July, & October 2023, and January 2024 
    • Scheduled by IAAMCS Graduate Student Paired Mentoring Program Leadership
  3. Participate in Paired Mentoring Check Ins April 2023 – March 2024 
    • Scheduled by members within your mentoring pairs or groups 
  4. Create, Engage, Like, Subscribe & Share IAAMCS Original Mentoring Content 
  5. Follow IAAMCS on social media  

What should you expect? 

Initial Mentor Matching Meetup – April 18, 2023 at 3:30 pm 

  1. We will hold introductions and provide an overview of the Graduate Student Paired Mentoring Program virtually. 
  2. We will use the IAAMCS Mentor Matching Survey results to create breakout groups and explore possible matches during this session. 
    • Please click here to complete the survey. 
    • During the small talk of the breakouts, think about your top 2 mentor matching options
  3. We will ask mentees and mentors to sign up to lead and participate in a series of topics to explore during the Quarterly Virtual Mentoring Meetups. 
    • This process will include polling participants to determine needs and interests as it relates to the Quarterly Virtual Mentoring Meetup topics. 
  4. Reconvene to hear takeaways and lessons learned. 
  5. After Mentor Matching Meetup, mentees and mentors will submit their top to match options. IAAMCS personnel will confirm mentoring matches 7 days after.  

Quarterly Virtual Mentoring Meetups – April, July, & October 2023, and January 2024   

  1. We will check in with Paired Mentoring Groups to evaluate program progress and support needs. 
  2. Mentees and Mentors will share insights and highlights that have happened since the last meeting. 
  3. We will use breakout rooms to explore topics selected by mentees and mentors. 
    •  Please refer to the list under “Possible Topics: Quarterly Virtual Mentoring Meetups” 
    • Reconvene to hear takeaways and lessons learned. 

Paired Mentoring Check Ins – April 2023 to March 2024 

  1. Paired Mentoring Groups will schedule their meetings 
  2. Agendas, materials, and resources will be determined and assembled by the Paired Mentoring Groups (mentors and mentees). 
    • Here are a few suggestions: 
      • Possible time allocations: 30 mins, 45 minutes or 1 hour 
      • “How are you doing, really?” Check Ins will allow mentees and mentors the opportunity to converse authentically about where they are in their journeys. 
      • Stages & Phases: Mentees will share where they are in their academic journeys. Mentors will share reflections on their corresponding phases and provide insights on what [not] to do. 
      • Review & Discuss IAAMCS Content or Topics 
        • IAAMCS Original Mentoring Content: Select 1-3 videos to review and discuss 
        • Topics: Select 1-2 topics from the following list 
        • Applying for travel scholarships to conference 
        • Goal Setting & Career Planning Support 
        • CV/Resume Optimization 
        • Technical Interview Preparation 
        • Graduate School Application Reviews 
        • Comprehensive Exams
        • Parts of a Prospectus/Dissertation Proposals
        • IRB Application Process
        • Executing, Writing & Defending Your Dissertation
        • Job Application Reviews 
        • Networking for Job Opportunities 
        • Access to an Academic Job Calendar 
        • Offer Negotiation Support 
        • Evaluation of Multiple Job or Graduate Program Offers 
        • Graduate Fellowship, Internship, Research, and Job Opportunities 
    • Q & A: What are some questions that mentees want answers based on where they are and where they want to go on their journeys? 
    • Close Out: 
      • Share takeaways and lessons learned. 
      • Evaluate program progress and support needs. 
      • Plan the next Paired Mentoring Check In 

    Possible Topics: Quarterly Virtual Mentoring Meetups 

    Mentoring: Clever ways to form and sustain mentoring relationships Finding a Graduate School: The qualities to look for when choosing a graduate school The Interview Process: A practical guide to interviewing and negotiating offers when you get them  Academia vs. Industry: Deciding the path to follow after graduate school Maneuvering Coding Interviews: The inside scoop on how to prepare and ace a coding interview 
    Getting Smart About Money: Managing your money during your time in academia and life Overcoming Challenges: Normalizing the Challenges of Academia at all levels. #AskingForAFriend Funding your Graduate School Career: Learn where to look for full PhD funding  Creating a Path for Black Tech Entrepreneurship  Get Your Mind Right: Mental Health and Wellness for Teach Professionals 
    Managing Difficult Advisor/Advisee RelationshipsTime ManagementBranding Yourself as an AcademicCareer Trajectory & Discussion on Diversity in STEM Recharge Your Life: Beating Burnout and Maintaining Balance
    Building a Competitive CV for Academia or Industry: This session will 1) look at different positions in academia and industry and 2) teach graduate students how to put together a competitive CV for those positions  What type of institution is right for you? The cultures, benefits and drawbacks of different types of universities (R1, liberal arts, community college, etc.)  NWB – Navigating While Black: Navigating While Black: How to survive Graduate School as a Black Student: Learn from graduate students and their experiences getting through graduate school as a person of color.  Crafting a Personal Statement: How to write that winning personal statement to get into graduate school?   Applying: What application packages include? What are the key features of teaching and research statements? What are search committees looking for in your application?  
    Real Strategies for Getting Your Grants Funded: Hear the perspectives of different faculty members on how they have worked to obtain funding to support their research programs. Research 101: Some interesting research and research essentials. Describing the foundations for good research.  The Art of Networking & Navigating a Technical Conference: Learn networking strategies and how to maximize your time at a technical conference.  Writing your Research and Teaching Statements: Get practical tips for writing the two fundamental portions of the faculty application. Teaching While Black: Hear and learn from the experiences of Black faculty about how to navigate academia and avoid the common pitfalls related to being historically underrepresented in America  
    “Oh no baby, what is you doing?”: You have created a nice resume, but have you had it reviewed!! Your resume can get you that job or… Ohhh nooo! Make sure that you put your best foot forward.  Tips for a good resume and common errors to avoid.  Tools for Navigating the Grad School Process: Applying to and starting in grad school can be a difficult process. In this session, we go over how to find community, get funding, begin research, and otherwise thrive in graduate school.  Stacks on Stacks on Stacks: Funding Graduate School: Learn from past and current winners of fellowships on how to find, apply for, and earn fellowships and grants  Administrative vs Research Career Paths in Academia: Explore different career pathways that allow you to maximize the benefits of your degree, experience, and passions without feeling limited in your growth.  Identifying a Topic & Writing your Dissertation Proposal: This session teaches how to identify a potential dissertation topic and writing the dissertation proposal  
    Writing & Publishing: Learn the art of effectively writing technical papers and how to get published  What Type of Entrepreneur are You? How to Grow a Business that Fits Your Lifestyle  Planning your career path/Nontraditional Career Options  Turning Your Side Hustle into Your Main Hustle   Publish or Perish: Where to successfully publish your work and how to write for clarity. 
    Internship Experience Panel: “Get That Internship” and things that you will encounter in the workplace.  

    Target Audience: Community College, 4-Year College, Master’s, and Doctoral students as well as faculty, non-academic researchers, industry representatives, parents, CISE researchers, and other alliances.