Finding NEMs
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Finding NEMs

Download the Mentor Recruitment and Retention presentation. (PDF: 11pp., 32K)

Recruiting NEMs
NEMs (Non-Engineering Mentors) can be a tremendous resource for your team. As with any organization or corporation, there are many aspects that make up a successful venture. Mentors working with your students in the functions of the team not related to the robot can allow students and engineering and teacher mentors to focus their efforts on designing and building the robot. Recruiting committees may wish to seek out students and adult mentors who have an interest in writing to assist with public relations and Chairman's Award entries, for example. Artists are a welcome addition to any team wishing to create logos, t-shirt and button designs, or brochures. Every team can benefit from the assistance of students and mentors with accounting experience to help create a business plan and work with the team's finances. Adults often have strong professional networks in place which can generate financial and in-kind sponsorships. Companies may make matching donations or grants to employees who volunteer their time with a non-profit organization. A successful team manages their human resources as well as their equipment assets.

Establish Goals
In order to get the best people for your team, you need to define what goals you are trying to achieve. If you are hoping to expand your team's involvement in computer programming or animation, you might seek mentors with computer background. If it's a business plan that you are trying to create, a mentor with management or financial background would be of help. Create two "team wish lists" - one for equipment for the team and one for the mentoring assistance you are seeking, and be sure everyone on the team has copies. Have these available at all demonstrations/fundraisers, etc. that you participate in.

Recruit
Recruiting sources:

  • School - teachers, coaches, support personnel
  • Parents - establish communication with them!
  • Local businesses - School/Business partnerships; Career Day/Job Shadowing volunteers; Human Resources departments; Chamber of Commerce; Civic organizations
  • Local chapters of professional societies
  • Local colleges and universities
  • Volunteer organizations
  • AARP
  • Advertise in local newspapers - often have weekly column for volunteer opportunities
  • Word of mouth - NETWORK!

Interview
Plan to interview potential mentors:

  • Explain expectations, time and financial commitments; goals of organization - mentor must be a good "fit" to be successful partnership
  • Solicit feedback from students and other mentors to head off any problems
  • Address issues promptly; don't hesitate to admit when a mentor "isn't working out"

Retain
Retain mentors by:

  • Include them in team decision-making processes
  • Communicate clearly and often with mentors
  • Empower them to do the job they were "hired" to do
  • Thanking them often
  • Thank the company or organization they are from; let management know about the wonderful job their employee is doing with your team
  • Invite mentor's company/organization to visit to see the program in person
  • invite mentors' family to visit also
  • Mention mentors in any public relations/media stories you do
  • Recognize signs of burnout and try to offload work
  • Plan some "fun" activities with team to relieve stress
  • Plan some activities just for mentors

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