Weekly Discussion Topics

This document contains the topics to be discussed with your mentee, along with some online resources that may be useful to you in your discussions. You should arrange to meet with your mentee each week (for lunch, dinner, or breakfast—your choice) at a time that is convenient for both of you. Please familiarize yourself with the discussion topics and supporting materials before you meet with your mentee. Should you have any questions, feel free to contact us at eMentoring@purdue.edu.

1st Meeting: Introduction/Experiences

Getting acquainted. Ask your mentee about his/her experiences at Purdue and in the department/school thus far. Discuss what has gone well and what has not gone well. Share your first semester experiences with your mentee and offer helpful suggestions. In particular, discuss the courses that you found to be helpful and offer tips for success. Also, share any research project experiences that you’ve had that were helpful to you.

Give your mentee some tips on things like - housing options, what to do over summer – internships/OPT/CPT, getting around in Lafayette/West Lafayette etc. There is a great resource on the “Guide for Post Doc” website at http://www.purdue.edu/research/ppda/docs/postdoc-guide.pdf that might be helpful.


2nd Meeting: Student Services

Discuss the student support services that are available on campus. These services are listed on the graduate school webpage

 In particular, talk about the following:

  1. Office of Graduate Assistance and Conflict Resolution
  2. Discuss the services listed under “Health and Wellness” 

3rd Meeting: Publishing, Avoiding Plagiarism and Copyright

Talk to your mentee about your experiences with writing and publishing. Discuss copyright issues, and avoiding plagiarism.

Whether it is a class assignment, project report, conference/journal paper, or dissertation, copying from others or using someone else’s work or ideas without properly crediting the original author(s) should be avoided.  This is called plagiarism and is a serious matter. More information on what plagiarism is, how to avoid it, and the policies governing how plagiarism and academic misconduct are handled, can be found at the link below.


Tell your mentee about using iThenticate to check for accidental plagiarism before submitting a paper, report, or thesis.

Copyright is the process of protecting one’s work and controlling the use the work. More information about copyright is available at


Look over the material on this page in advance of the discussion with your mentee.


4th Meeting: Professional Development Workshops

The graduate school offers courses, workshops and events to help graduate students acquire knowledge and skills to succeed in graduate school and beyond. A listing of the workshops offered by the Graduate School can be found at https://www.purdue.edu/gradschool/professional-development/workshops/index.php.

Also, discuss with your mentee the professional development workshop on financial fitness and other events that can be found at https://www.purdue.edu/gradschool/professional-development.

In particular, under events, note that the Graduate School offers classes in preparing to be a professor and preparing to be an industry professional. The Graduate School also has a National Labs Day for students and a GK-12 program where grad students serve as visiting scholars in local middle schools.


5th Meeting: Funding

Talk to your mentee about types of funding opportunities available and what it is like to be a Research Assistant, a Teaching Assistant, and a Graduate Assistant.

Information on fellowships, assistantships, scholarships and internal and external funding sources can be found here

Review these options with your mentee. 


6th Meeting: Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR)

Consult Responsible Conduct of Research webpage

“The Graduate School in cooperation with the Office of the Vice President for Research has developed the Purdue University Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) program. The purpose of this program is to inculcate, promote and sustain an environment of research integrity in all graduate students, staff and faculty at Purdue University.”   Most departments now require graduate students to complete an online RCR workshop/training as well. Talk about Student/Faculty Roles and Responsibilities, Graduate Student Responsibilities, Data Management, Intellectual Property, and Authorship.

Talk to your mentee about the Institutional Review Board (IRB) and conducting research that requires IRB approval.


7th Meeting: Engaging in Extra Curricular Activities

Talk about extracurricular activities and resources available on campus that your mentee could engage in and benefit from.  

Purdue Graduate Student Government(PGSG)

The Purdue Graduate Student Government is a graduate student-run organization that serves the needs of graduate students. Some of the programs and services it offers are – Career Fairs, Grants (Travel, Professional, others) and various social gathering activities.  More information can be found at http://web.ics.purdue.edu/~pgsg/

For information about  the PGSG Travel Grant program, visit



Purdue Graduate Student Center (PGSC)

The Graduate Student Center is located at 504 Northwestern Ave inside the Northwestern parking garage. It is a facility specifically for graduate students, a place where you can hang out,  take a break between classes, or hold a special event.  Graduate students can reserve rooms, use study space for group studies and more. Additional information can be found, here

Also, talk about Graduate Student Study Abroad opportunities



8th Meeting:  Finding a Major Professor

Talk to your mentee about your experiences in (1) finding a major professor (2) working with your major professor or co-advisors, (3) selecting a dissertation committee, and (4) communicating with the dissertation committee.

9th meeting: Multicultural Competencies

Talk about the following:

  1. The Cultural Centers. Links to each can be found on the Inclusion webpage.

     Inform your mentee that these centers exist and encourage your mentee to look at the activities they offer.

  2. Graduate Student Study Abroad opportunities


  3. DiversiKey Certificate Program (http://www.purdue.edu/dro/diversikey/)

    This certification program is designed to help students’ master professional skills and multicultural competencies necessary to excel in the global workforce. 

10th Meeting: Preparing for Exams

Share with your mentee your experiences and thoughts on approaching and preparing for various exams (qualifying exams, preliminary exams, final exams). Encourage your mentee to use the available departmental resources that talk about requirements, timelines, and Plans of Study. 

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