By Sherilynn J Black, Angela Byars-Winston, Ivan Cabrera, Christine Pfund
Research mentoring relationships are critical to mentees’ persistence in STEM careers. Cultural identity variables (gender, race, ethnicity) influence how mentees experience mentoring relationships, including their developmental needs and expectations of mentors. Research shows that mentees from underrepresented groups in STEM often want to discuss topics related to race and ethnicity and how these factors impact their careers. However, many research mentors are uncertain of their ability to broach cultural diversity issues in mentorship or strategies to engage in culturally aware mentoring practices. To address this need, we developed an evidence-based mentor training intervention for Enhanced Cultural Awareness (ECA) in mentorship. We implemented the two-hour module online with research mentors (N=62) largely from well-represented racial/ethnic groups in STEM who were mentoring undergraduate researchers from underrepresented racial/ethnic groups. Mentors reported significant gains in skills, attitudes, and behaviors related to cultural awareness in mentoring. The majority of mentors found the training valuable, and 97% of mentors reported intending to make changes in mentoring practices post-intervention. Implications for continued research and mentorship education to enhance mentors’ cultural awareness are also discussed.