This article is published in the April 2022 issue.

Who do Men and Women Graduate Students Consider to be Their Mentors? An Analysis Revisited.

A plot of mentor sources reported by men and women graduate students 

In a prior CERP Infographic, CERP analyzed where graduate students reported finding their mentors from Fall 2018 Data Buddies Survey (DBS). CERP recently revisited that analysis to determine whether those findings were present for graduate students who responded to the Fall 2020 DBS. This included summarizing common sources of mentors and performing independent-samples t-tests to reveal whether there are any differences between where women and men graduate students find mentors.

As shown in the plot, men (N = 1,954) and women (N = 986) graduate students report similar rates of mentors from academic settings; about half of men and women consider their advisor to be a mentor. Similar to responses from the Fall 2018 DBS, women reported higher rates of mentorship through personal relationships (M = 0.41, SD = 0.49) than men did (M = 0.32, SD = 0.47); t(1,884) = -4.79, p < 0.001. Cohen’s d = 0.19. Diverging from prior significant Fall 2018 DBS results, men and women graduate students who responded to Fall 2020 DBS reported similar numbers of mentors, as well as similar rates of finding mentors from a conference mentoring program or not having a mentor at all.

While some results from Fall 2018 DBS were not observed in Fall 2020 DBS data, it is interesting to see the sustained result of mentorship via personal relationships differing by gender. This continuing result calls for further analysis with new DBS data in future years.

The survey data represented in this infographic comes from the options for the 2020 DBS question “Who do you consider to be a mentor?”. Graduate students were able to select one or more of the following options: A professor within my department (not my advisor); A professor outside of my department; Someone I met at a conference or mentoring program sponsored by an outside organization (or other professional activity); No one; Someone else; My advisor; A graduate student (e.g., graduate teaching/research assistant, graduate student mentor); A coworker, supervisor, or someone else with whom I have a professional relationship; A family member, partner, friend, religious leader, or someone else with whom I have a personal relationship; A Director or administrative faculty.

horizontal CERP logoThis analysis is brought to you by the CRA’s Center for Evaluating the Research Pipeline (CERP). CERP provides social science research and comparative evaluation for the computing community. Subscribe to the CERP newsletter here. You can join Data Buddies here.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under grant numbers CNS-1246649, DUE-1431112, and/or DUE-1821136. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.