Exciting Progress and Next Steps in the Mentoring Study!

I’m excited to report that my lab group reached a couple of milestones this week! We finished checking baseline surveys, which involved going back through hundreds of hand-written questionnaires to ensure that the data was entered accurately into the computer.  Additionally, data for all follow ups have been coded and we’re wrapping up checking that information as well!


So what’s left? The short answer: not much. There are some files that require further review, online surveys we have to combine with the rest of the data, and general organizational tasks. But this is a small order compared to the previous time spent on entering and checking (things that have been going on since the fall of 2016). With those jobs out of the way, the mentoring data I’m using is almost ready for analysis.


I feel great about my lab’s progress so far! I can’t tell you how excited I was to come back from my fourth of July break and find such huge strides made on this sample—my team is the best and everyone’s hard work is coming together!


So, with this week wrapping up, I’m entering a new phase of the research process. I’m continuing to delve into prior research in the field of youth mentoring. In the rest of the post, I’ll give you all some idea of what the finished product of my report is going to look like.


For any program evaluation, not only is it important to know what the outcomes of your efforts are, it’s also essential to assess how the program is being implemented (DuBois, 2014). Under this theme are things like participant attrition—who is leaving the program and for what reasons? How many participants stick with their original mentor? How long do matches last for mentees who leave early or switch mentors?


This knowledge is important grounds for understanding outcomes. Prior research has suggested that concerns like match length and mentor reassignment play important roles in how youth experience a mentoring program (DeWitt et al. 2016; Grossman et al. 2011; Grossman & Rhodes, 2002). It appears as though the most gains from mentoring happen when matches endure.


Because my study is based on a mentoring program in which college students volunteer as mentors, it is important to know if matches last. As a college student, I can attest to the chaotic nature of trying to put together a schedule from one semester to the next. It is completely understandable why student mentors would find it challenging to follow through with their commitments over the course of a year.


This mentoring study gives an opportunity to test the impact of re-matching on the mentoring process. Compared with kids who have the same mentor for the whole year, kids who switch mentors might have different stories and experiences—it is certainly an important theme to explore. We might find that simply having a mentor, no matter who or how many, is beneficial in itself and that the children in the program can achieve strong bonds with their mentors regardless pairing changes. We also might find that switching mentors could dampen the effects of this program.


Stay with me for the rest of the summer to see what I find out!




  1. Sally Nelson says:

    Wow. Phoebe your internship and this blog tell me so much about how you have enjoyed researching this very important topic. I want to hear more. Love, Bubbie

  2. Sally Nelson says:

    Wow. Phoebe your internship and this blog tell me so much about how you have enjoyed researching this very important topic. I want to hear more. Love, Bubbie

  3. Hi Phoebe. Your research sounds really interesting! Will you be looking at mentoring programs in Williamsburg or other cities? Also, is their a particular age group you are evaluating (middle school, high school mentees)? Looking forward to learning more about your research and your outcomes at the symposium.