Darren Ritzer, Ph.D.




College of Arts and Sciences


First Generation College Students, Mentorship Programs, Federal TRiO Program


From the great deal of research previously done in the area of mentorship, we know that it can be very valuable to individuals across all ages and fields. However, there has not been much research done on how mentorship affects undergraduate students while in a structured program. In this study, we examine aspects of mentorship in a structured undergraduate program from the perspectives of the undergraduate protégés. We aimed to look at what specific mentorship interaction protégés had with their mentors and what aspect of satisfaction protégés had with their mentors. The structured program was the Ronald E. McNair Scholars program, a scholarship program that provides support and resources for those who are first generation, low income, and underrepresented in higher education to conduct research in order to prepare for graduate studies. McNair Scholars are paired with mentors who guide them through their summer research experience. Thirteen current protégé McNair Scholars participated in an approximately ninety to ninety-five question Qualtrics survey assessing mentoring functions, satisfaction, and mentorship recommendations using four previously published surveys, researcher designed questions, and general demographic questions. Those surveys include the following: Mentoring Functions Questionnaire (MFQ-9) (Scandura & Ragins, 1993), Mentoring Role Instrument (Ragins & McFarlin, 1990), Satisfaction with Mentor Scale (Ragins & McFarlin, 1990), and Mentoring Functions Scale (Noe, 1988). These questionnaires included items that could be broken up into 14 different categories including the following: sponsor, acceptance, challenge, coaching, counseling, friendship, psychosocial support, protect, exposure, role modeling, social, parent, career support, and satisfaction. After running a frequency analysis, we found that a higher percentage of protégés did not view their mentors as parents or friends, but a high percentage were still highly satisfied with their mentoring relationship. The data led us to believe that protégés seemed to appreciate career support and guidance rather than social friendships. This study did have limitations such as a small sample size. Further research could aim to obtain a larger sample size and collect data from not only protégés, but also their mentors.