CyberMentor - STEM communities for girls and women
CyberMentor is a project associated with the National Pact for Women in STEM professions (mathematics, computer science, natural sciences and technology) and comes as an initiative of the German Federal Government through the "Advancement through Education" framework.
The main objective of the project is to increase the participation of girls in the STEM area. The CyberMentor platform provides each participating student with a personal mentor who has worked professionally in business and science in the STEM field or who is studying a STEM subject.
The project runs annually (Start dates are in March, June, September, December) involving up to 800 girls and 800 women from all over Germany. It is funded by several German companies.
CyberMentor is the largest systematic scientifically supported e-mentoring programme for girls in STEM. The project’s accompanying research feeds into the continuous improvement of the programme and the results are subsequently made available to other mentoring programmes.
The development of the mentees is accompanied by a longitudinal study. Surveys are carried out before the start of the mentoring process, during the mentoring year and after it. In order to obtain meaningful data, the development of the mentees is compared with various control groups, including a parallelized waiting-control group of similarly interested students.
Not only are satisfaction surveys carried out, but also extensive data is gathered on STEM interests, STEM activities, STEM knowledge (content and job-related), environmental aspects, etc. with scientifically tested survey instruments. After a few years, follow-up, including a query of the actual study and career choices, will be carried out.
For a year, the mentoring partners will communicate with each other by email, chat and forum exchange. In that sense, and order to achieve the best possible interaction and to provide a temporal and spatial flexibility, the mentoring can take place online- via the CyberMentor platform.
The CyberMentor platform offers all participants additional profile pages, moderated discussion forums and chat rooms. Mentors can also arrange online training exercises for a better mentoring performance. Moreover, the CyberMINT communities have been created as a space in which two mentees and two mentors will share and jointly edit STEM projects online.
The CyberMentor online platform provides various information about STEM and offers the possibility of getting in touch with students and mentors from all over Germany to discuss interesting topics and to explore personal impressions.
The mentors are professionals who work in the STEM area and who participate voluntarily in the project. The mentees are STEM-interested girls aged 12 to 18. Participation in CyberMentor is free for both students and mentors.