Participating in mentored undergraduate research experiences can improve students' grade point averages, retention, and job placement . Graduate students also benefit from serving as mentors, as they gain teaching and research management experience . In early 2020, the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) pandemic caused many institutions to shut down physical work spaces and move research and teaching online . In this study, we explore how graduate student mentors and undergraduate student mentees at Washington University in St. Louis adapted to virtual research mentoring during the COVID-19 pandemic . We examined changes in mentoring methods, research productivity, and the impact on the future plans of both mentors and mentees across six science/engineering departments . Survey responses from 79 mentees and 38 mentors indicated that a majority of mentees were able to have meaningful and productive virtual mentoring experiences, while other mentors failed to adequately involve their mentees in continued mentoring . Focusing virtual research experiences on activities such as literature review and data analysis and collaborating on goal setting can serve as a way for mentors to engage mentees even when they are unable to access lab equipment . Data from the present study reveal opportunities and challenges of virtual mentoring and can be used to inform effective research mentoring practices in the future.
MeSH: COVID-19, Humans, Mentoring, Mentors, Pandemics, SARS-CoV-2, Students, Washington