Mentoring Penn State Interns

Mentoring Penn State Interns

Mentoring is a process of accompaniment and sharing of work experiences. It is a way of assisting a Penn State student to become familiar with planned job experiences and the environment in which the student will work. It requires a desire to share experiences that include successes as well as failures and is based on trust and mutual respect.

A mentor should:

  • Provide a meaningful intern experience
  • Enable the intern to gain a working knowledge and appreciation of the organization's broader operations
  • Share knowledge, technical expertise, and life experiences
  • Develop the intern’s self-confidence
  • Explain and continually reinforce the company’s values
  • Identify effective and ineffective techniques
  • Serve as a counselor when decision making is required
  • Serve as a role model for the intern
  • Expect and encourage two-way communications
  • Serve as an advocate for the intern

A mentor must be able to:

  • Assign tasks that will enable the interns to utilize the skills acquired through their academic experience
  • Be patient and understanding
  • Be flexible
  • Help the intern to convert learning into practice
  • Communicate effectively
  • Be consistent and reliably

Mentoring Responsibilities

Identifying Roles

  • Clearly understand the motivations to be a mentor
  • Mentor with a realistic assessment of your skills and experiences


  • Provide clear expectations to the intern
  • Remain flexible throughout the process
  • Create reasonable goals that include realistic timelines and an understanding of the final product

Working Collaboratively

  • Provide visual or descriptive examples of the expectation
  • Identify the intern’s shortcomings and work on the improvement of those shortcomings
  • Build upon the strengths of the intern
  • Offer feedback that is constructive in nature
  • Periodically evaluate the performance of the intern
  • Be consistent

Meeting the Goals

  • Participate with the University representative to evaluate the performance of the intern
  • Celebrate the successes of the intern