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IISME Details: Recruitment and Roles of Sponsoring Organizations and Mentors

Recruiting Sponsors. IISME staff recruits companies from various business sectors (high technology, biotechnology, health care, finance, etc.) to serve as host sites for IISME Fellows. Sponsor recruitment takes place in January through May, at which time it is the main focus of staff.

Various recruiting methods are used to recruit new sponsors, the two most common being direct mail with follow-up telephone calls and presentations before industry trade associations and at professional society meetings.

Number of Sponsors. In any given summer, there are approximately 20 returning sponsors and 5 to 8 new sponsors that are all hosting Fellows. The average sponsor hosts three Fellows per summer, but some large companies host as many as 15.

Responsibilities of Sponsors. Hosting sponsors fund most of IISME's expenses, paying $8,600 per IISME Summer Fellowship. Of that, $5,600 is a stipend earned by Fellows and $800 covers employment costs (payroll, FICA, worker's compensation). Sponsors agree to appoint a coordinator who will work with IISME staff to identify potential mentors and appropriate job assignments for the Fellows, and who will make necessary hiring arrangements. Coordinators also ensure that the hiring department is ready for the Fellow's arrival, with a telephone line, computer, desk, etc. set up in advance for the Fellow. Sponsors pay Fellows for their time in attending IISME's three required summer meetings, and some sponsors also allow Fellows to periodically miss work to attend optional tours or lectures at other sponsor companies.

Recruiting and Selecting Mentors. Coordinators recruit mentors within sponsor companies via e-mail announcements, staff meetings, company newsletters, etc. Mentors can be managers from any functional area of the company; they are necessarily scientists or engineers. They are typically motivated to hire an IISME Fellow because they have a project within their department they need completed. Many mentors enjoy working with teachers and return as mentors in subsequent summers.

Roles of Mentors. Mentors agree to allow IISME Fellows to spend 10% of their fellowship (32 hours total) in developing an Action Plan for Classroom Transfer, which is due at the conclusion of the fellowship.

IISME does not require mentors to commit to any specific support of Fellows during the summer. However, because Fellows are working on projects identified by their mentors, the mentors provide training and supervision to their IISME Fellows as they would to other employees.

Although it is not required, many mentors continue their relationship with the Fellow during the academic year, hosting field trips for students, visiting the Fellow's classrooms, providing loaned or surplus equipment, etc.

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