Mentor Net is an innovative program that uses the Internet as a vehicle to do large-scale mentoring, especially of women. During the 2000-2001 program year, two thousand students were matched with one thousand nine hundred and thirteen mentors representing six hundred and ninety companies; seventy affiliated colleges and universities participated. The large network of mentors from industry and government laboratories it has developed provide those mentored with a better understanding of a field, occupation, or organization, including cultural factors, typical professional and personal rewards, likely challenges, and strategies for success.
This program is particularly beneficial in its support of undergraduate and graduate women students who are currently enrolled in engineering or science programs in higher education. The program is successful in the retention of women in mathematics, science, and engineering majors and careers. Involving a large and increasing number of diverse companies is a key benefit. There is also a strong emphasis on the evaluation of the program, which works to continually improve the MentorNet operation, and also documents the program's impressive statistics in supporting the retention of diverse students in science, engineering, and technology. The training and feedback mechanism for mentors makes this program even more effective, ensuring that the mentors know how to interact with the students successfully.