ERSP engages extremely bright and motivated second year students (mostly women and students from traditionally under-served groups) in research apprenticeships, to get them trained to do research as well as excited about the field. Faculty mentors open their research group meetings or 1 on 1 student meetings to allow ERSP students to sit in. Mentors (or their grad students) also take an active but well-supported role in guiding students' research during one academic year.


FAQs about being a faculty mentor


What are the commitments for a faculty mentor?

  • In the summer faculty mentors brainstorm on research projects that are appropriate for second year students.
  • Starting in Fall, hold your weekly research meetings as usual, but make room for 4 extra students to attend. Help the students feel welcomed, though you don't have to change the way you structure the meetings.
  • Throughout the whole academic year, arrange for one of your grad students or advanced undergraduates to interact with ERSP undergrads outside of the group meetings in a mentoring/guiding capacity. Or be willing to take on this role yourself (this would probably involve about 30-60 minutes/week).

What's in it for being a faculty mentor?

  • Towards the end of this program, it's likely that the students will actually be able to contribute in a meaningful way to your research
  • Get to interact with undergrads who are young and excited to learn about your research
  • Help increase the diversity and engagement of highly motivated students in the CSE major.

Are faculty mentors required to commit throughout the entire three quarters?

  • Yes, but if there is a problem with the relationship, we can address issues as they arise.

Besides attending research meeting, what else will the students do?

  • In the fall students will be attending a weekly class, for which they will be practicing basic research skills like reading research papers, keeping a research log, presenting technical concepts, identifying interesting problems, making progress toward a solution that is not known to exist, etc.
  • All of these skills will be practiced in the context of your research project. In the winter and spring, they will carry out an independent research project under your (and my) guidance.


If you know that you would like to participate, please send me the following information:

1. Title of your research project (or just name your research area) and a brief description of your project or projects. We'll refine this over the summer, so it's OK if it's high-level or vague.

2. Day and time of your group meetings in Fall quarter (if known). If you have not yet scheduled meetings for Fall quarter, just let me know that too.

3. Whether the engagement would likely be with a larger research group, or more likely with you and a single graduate student.


ERSP-UCSB is part of a multi-institutional scaling effort of UC San Diego's CSE Early Research Scholars Program. For more information about that program, example projects and outcomes, please visit