Published: Aug. 22, 2017 By

The Engineering Graduate Student Mentoring Certificate Program is seeking nominations for graduate mentors as the program enters its second year.

The college launched the program in fall 2016 to teach PhD students mentoring skills they can apply at CU Boulder and throughout their careers.  The program also aims to continue building a college culture where academic mentorship is highly valued.

“This program is designed to take our graduate mentors from good to great,” said Keith Molenaar, associate dean for research. “The first cohort had an active role in designing the program. We received excellent feedback, and we’re looking forward to making it even better.”

Garrett McKay

Garrett McKay

In the first year, 17 graduate students met monthly as a group to discuss mentoring topics. Each graduate student worked with undergraduate research mentees in a wide variety of research labs across the college.

Mentors learned how to recognize students in distress, how to work with diverse groups of students and other tips and tricks.

“I had previously mentored students in research but before this program had not received any formal (or even informal) training on how to do so,” said PhD student Garrett McKay. “This program taught me new skills and made my mentoring experience during the year much more enjoyable and productive.”

Environmental engineering PhD student Natalie Hull said she joined the program to aid her future ambition of being a professor who builds effective mentoring relationships.

“The biggest lesson of the program was that mentors must cooperatively help students develop and traverse a map toward a destination that is sometimes unclear,” Hull said. “Mentors can help by clarifying and providing motivation to reach the destination and by collaboratively setting and celebrating achievements of goals along the way.”

Hull plans to continue mentoring until she graduates in May, and the program needs more PhD students to join her.

Natalie Hull

Natalie Hull

How to Apply

Students interested in being part of the 2017-18 cohort must be nominated by a faculty member. Self-nominations are not accepted.

To nominate a graduate student, faculty members should send the following information to Laura Vidal ( by Sept. 1, 2017. The college will contact the students to request their CVs. Selections will be made by the middle of September.

  1. Student name
  2. Research area
  3. Past mentoring experience
  4. Planned mentoring activities in 2017-18 academic year (If the student does not have mentoring activities planned, the college can match the student with an opportunity such as Spring Break for Research.)

Contact Keith Molenaar ( or Sarah Miller ( with questions.