Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy




Jeffrey T. Olimpo


Both undergraduate research experiences (UREs) and course-based undergraduate research experiences (CUREs) provide students with benefits and opportunities such as improving technical skills and making connections that provide resources. Where these two experiences differ is accessibility. Similar to their URE counterpart, CUREs entail mentorship on the part of the faculty/graduate teaching assistant (GTA) instructor (Dolan, 2016). There is general agreement that mentoring has many benefits for undergraduate STEM students, such as an improvement in retention rates, increased confidence and self-efficacy, and a more established sense of belonging and science identity (Dolan, 2016). CURE instructors often adopt the role of “mentor” in addition to the “teacher” role. Although evidence suggests that mentoring improves students’ success, in-depth understanding of mentorship in contexts such as online learning and CUREs remains limited. Before and after the COVID-19 crisis, advances in technology facilitated the implementation of online programs, which have led to mentoring interactions occurring in online contexts with increasing frequency. To make higher education more accessible and inclusive, online CUREs could provide valuable research and mentorship opportunities to non-traditional students who otherwise might have a harder time being considered and accessing opportunities such as UREs and face-to-face CUREs due to various logistical constraints (e.g., time, distance). While the benefits of mentoring have been well documented, the complexities and pathways that lead to said benefits are still not well understood. Additionally, online mentoring presents different dynamics and challenges that have not yet been explored and therefore understood, especially in the context of CUREs. This project aims to characterize said pathways in order to give instructors a better understanding of students’ outcomes as they relate to the components that make up an effective mentoring relationship within the context of an online CURE. Specifically, this project explores student and GTA perceptions of mentoring within an online CURE adopting the national SEA-PHAGES model (Jordan et al., 2014). Further, it aims to understand how students’ perceptions of mentoring supports relate to a suite of latent and observed variables (e.g., demographics, science identity, instructor trust) as well as how being in an online environment affects said perceptions.




Received from ProQuest

File Size

83 p.

File Format


Rights Holder

Karen Alejandra Santillan

Available for download on Saturday, November 23, 2024