The Case for Student-to-Student Mentoring in Bench ScienceScience SourceBy David S. Rogawski and Juliano Ndoj MAY 08, 2018Several years ago, one of us (Dave) was a first-year Ph.D. student working to develop new cancer drugs. Needing an undergraduate assistant to help with routine laboratory tasks like mixing solutions and purifying protein, he recruited a college sophomore (Juliano) who had no previous research experience but was eager to pursue a scientific career. Over the course of three years, our mentoring relationship transformed into a powerful scientific partnership that helped propel both of us toward the next stage of our careers.While our partnership flourished, we discovered that graduate-to-undergraduate mentoring relationships are not always successful. A survey we conducted at the University of Michigan showed that 19 percent of undergraduates were dissatisfied with the overall experience of working with a graduate-student mentor. Larger proportions reported problems with specific aspects of mentoring — their mentor hadn’t helped them feel part of the lab team or had been impatient when they were learning a new technique. Some relationships foundered because of low expectations and lack of enthusiasm.Our partnership proved so beneficial for both of us that we wanted to share how it worked. If more students were aware of the mutual benefits of graduate-to-undergraduate mentoring, we believe they might work harder at strengthening their own relationship and get more out of it.