Sisters Mentoring Programs

Women@SCS has several mentoring programs for the women in the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University. Our programs provide support and advice for both undergradaue and graduate women.Below are our programs, as well as mentoring resources.

Undergraduate Big Sister/Little Sister Program

The undergraduate BigSister/Little Sister Program matches every interested freshman with an undergraduate upperclassman, with the goal of strengthening bonds between women in the CS community. It's a great way for freshmen to connect with someone for friendship, advice and support. Big sisters also gain an opportunity to share their experiences and perceptions of SCS. Each pair can decide how often to meet and what to do (coffee dates, trips to downtown or just chatting) and we hope you'll make a new friend. Beyond meeting one-on-one, Women@SCS also organizes several events throughout the year for all women in the program to meet and catch up.

To be matched to a sister (big or little) email our coordinator Anita Yerneni.

Grad/Undergrad Sisters

The Grad/Undergrad Sisters Program matches junior and senior undergraduate students with graduate students in SCS. The focus is on building community within the School of Computer Science, and undergrads do not need to be considering grad school in order to sign up. This is a great opportunity for undergradautes and graduates to get to know each other. Big/Little sisters can share questions, concerns and advice about life after college, applying to grad school, what grad school is like, and more. To be matched to a sister (big or little), email our coordinators Tanvi Bajpai or Fannie Liu.

PhD Sisters

The PhD Sisters program matches first and second year PhD women with senior PhD women throughout the School of Computer Science with the goal of fostering long-term mentoring relationships and strengthening the community of PhD women. In addition to facilitating one-on-one mentoring relationships, this program also sponsors monthly mentoring and social events. For more information contact Franceska Xhakaj and/or Hannah Gommerstadt.

Mentoring Questions

What is mentoring?
To guide, encourage, give advice and provide information. Mentors are not expected to have all the answers but may be able to suggest where to go for advice. Mentors, be there for your mentoree.
What are the goals of the Sisters' program?
To provide an initial personal non-faculty connection with someone who has been in the same situation and to ensure freshmen don't feel isolated or lost thoughout their first year. Sometimes women and minorities can feel excluded and different in an area like CS where they are an underrepresented group. The ultimate goal is to contribute to success.
What's the difference between a mentor and an advisor?
Mentors often have a more personal relationship with mentees, but can be an advisor and/or role model as well. You can have many mentors in your life.
What is an ideal mentor? Mentee?
There is no profile of an ideal mentor or mentee. Success depends on the drive, willingness, availability, and good communication of both. The mentor and mentee should listen and respond to each other. At the same time, they should not have unrealistic expectations of each other.
What if I don't get along with my sister?
Let the sisters' organizers know. People have different styles of communicating. Not all sisters will match well, so don't feel offended if you need to switch.
What impact is the Sisters' program hoping for?
A successful experience for both students as well as a gained friend and colleague.

Mentoring Resources

The 10 Commandments of Mentoring
Learn all about women mentoring other women. Find out how it relates to the success of your own career. Learn the common myths and commandments of mentoring.
MentorNet is a service available to women in engineering, CS, and other sciences -- undergraduate and graduate. MentorNet pairs students with professionals in industry for year-long, structured mentoring relationships conducted via email. It's a wonderful opportunity for students potentially interested in careers in industry at the conclusion of their studies.
CRA-W Distributed Research Experiences for Undergraduates
The CRA-W DREU's goal is to increase the number of women who go to graduate school to study computer science and engineering. Undergraduate women are paired with faculty mentors for a summer research experience.