Student Mentoring Program


  Q: Can teams get reimbursed for their expenditures, and if so how do they get reimbursed?
A: We do have limited funds to help defray approved team expenses (i.e. presentation costs for models, displays, etc). A team must submit their anticipated requirements along with an estimated cost to the SMP Committee. Once their requirements are approved by the committee, they may then submit their bills to the committee with an explanation for the cost, who to make the check out to, and a mailing address.

  Q: What kind of compensation do you give the Mentors?
A: The mentors serve voluntarily and SAME could not offer this program without their generous assistance. Most give a total of 30 hours of their time, about one hour per week for 7 months, to mentor the students.

We do offer the following reasons to consider for mentoring:
1) Promote your Profession
2) Help keep students off the streets
3) Plant a seed for a Real World Project
4) Be there to watch the light bulbs come on as the students progress through their projects
5) Give back to your community and society
6) Gain recognition among your peers
7) May qualify for a maximum of 30 contact hours hours for Licensure.

  Q: I see many teams have two mentors. Why is this?
A: We like to have two mentors per team for several reasons.
(1) The mentors are volunteers who have full time professional jobs that may keep them from attending team meetings. Two mentors helps ensure that at least one should be able to meet each week with the students.
(2) We try to put new mentors with a seasoned mentor so the new person may be trained by the experienced mentor.

  Q: How can I as an Architect (or Engineer) be helpful to a team when the team project is out of my field of expertise?
A: The goals of the Student Initiative Program are to teach the students

(1) how to work as a team,

(2) how to solve problems,

(3) about Architecture and Engineering, and

(4) the advantages of a higher education.

As a mentor you are a resource for the students, not an expert on all possible projects. By education and experience you are trained in the application of team work and problem solving. The knowledge you depart on Architecture/Engineering is through sharing of your experiences and field trips to your office or a work site. The advantages of a higher education should become obvious to the students during the course of working on their project and with you.

  Q: How do you prevent the mentors and teachers from doing the students projects and providing professionally prepared documents and drawings?
A: We have not felt that this is a problem. We would hope that the ethics of the mentors and teachers would prevent them from plagiarizing materials for their team.
If they do use others' material, we ask that they acknowledge the source.

  Q: How do you know that the students are benefiting from your program, i.e. pursuing engineering/architectural or higher educational futures?
A: At this time we have no way to track the students who participate in our program. Basically this is a legal and logistics problem. We would need the written permission of each student to track them after they graduate from High school. It is a task that even the school systems cannot provide. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  Q: How can I get my questions answered?
A: Please contact the Program Administrator at 402-554-2098

  Q: Please explain the logic behind alternating judges during the competition.
A: To be totally fair, all projects should be evaluated by the same panel of judges. However because of the size of our program, it is not possible to have the same judges evaluate all the projects. We alleviate this problem by having several panels of four judges each read the project reports and review those project presentations. We chose to create panels composed of four members because we believe that an average of their scores produces a statistically valid average score.
In the past, the same four judges sat on the same panel all through the competition. However, this lead to the perception that one panel of judges was more strict or more lenient in comparison to another panel.
So as to avoid this bias we now alternate the judges between panels to produce a more homogenous blend to the panels. The alternation is not random but is designed to minimize the number of times each judge sets on a panel with the same members, i.e. for a competition composed of three sets of panels and covering 7 periods, the same pannel of four judges only set once together, the same three judges only set once or less together, and the same two judges only set three or less times together.

  Q: How are program schedules, procedures, rules, etc determined?
A: We have a Steering Committee composed of teachers and mentors who assist us in our decisions.

  Q: How do you pick your Keynote Speaker?
A: We try to find someone who would have an interesting topic, could provide motivation for the students to pursue higher education particularly in the architectural/engineering area. Any suggestions on speakers would be greatly appreciated.

  Q: Do you make any compensation in your scoring procedure for teams that have the project as a class vs. the teams that do the projects as extracurricular?
A: No. We do not see that one system results in more favorably scores.

  Q: What kind of feedback do the teams receive after the competition that would aid them in understanding why they did not win and how they could improve?
A: It is very important to understand that we strongly believe that all the students who participate in the program are winners.

As for advice on how to improve, we do provide each team with the following information:

1. An overall Evaluation Summary.
Prepared by the panel of judges who evaluated the team's written report and oral presentation.

2. Team Scores.
A tabulation of each judge's score for each Critical Category along with the overall Grand Total Score.

3. High Score Summary.
A tabulation of High Scores and Average Scores for each Critical Category. A team may determine their ranking by comparing their Team Scores vs. the Average Scores.

  Q: Is there a way to support the program through charitable donations?
A: As a tax exempt organization under section 501(c) (3) of the IRS code (RE: IRS letter 10/17/05) we appreciate any donations/grants to our program. Please contact our Administrator for details (402) 554-2098.
Thank you for any support you may provide.

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