So got you curious about Imagine cup yet? If you are considering taking part, it helps to have a mentor, your mentor can be a faculty member or someone from industry. If you are talking to a faculty member about being a mentor, you can point them to this blog for some reasons they might want to mentor a team in Imagine Cup. There is also a great article here written by a faculty member who mentored a team and wrote about the experience.
Mentoring a competitive Imagine Cup team is incredibly rewarding and, according to one mentor, slightly addictive. As a team mentor, your role is to act as an advisor who helps your students work together efficiently and effectively as a team. It takes discipline and knowledge to focus others on creating a world-changing solution – not an easy task - but we know that you’re up to the challenge.
Obviously, you can't do your team's work for them or solve any problems they encounter; however, you can discuss technical issues with your students and refer them to the valuable resources and what better way to help students understand the relevance of what they are learning in class then by helping them apply it to solve real world problems.
Here are a few FAQ about mentoring from the Imagine Cup website
Can anyone be a mentor? Anyone can do it — an industry professional, faculty member, Microsoft student intern, a not-for-profit organization member or a private sector company employee, or even a former competitor. The only people who can't be mentors are current competition judges
What is my role as a mentor? Do what you can to help your team. You might help brainstorm for project ideas, talk about progress, or even moderate discussions and clarify answers. You'll also want to help your team organize tasks and timelines, and figure out roles and responsibilities. What you don't want to do is lead discussions, control the group in any way, or contribute to any of the work related to the team's competition entry.
How much of a time commitment is mentoring? It depends on your skills and the needs of the team. In general, you should expect to spend between half a day and one day per week with your team as competition deadlines approach.
What about remote mentoring? You're not required to be in the same geographic area as your team, but it does make day-to-day coaching easier.
Does every team need a mentor? No, but having a mentor is a good idea so that teams have steady access to advice, information, and support.
It is recommended, but not required, that each team have one (1) mentor in addition to your Team members. Limit one (1) mentor per Team. A mentor can be from an educational institution, a not-for-profit organization or a private sector company. Please note: IT Challenge is an individual competition and does not have mentors.
Can I mentor more than one team? Yes.
Okay I’m convinced, how do I become a mentor? Start by registering as a mentor. Or, visit the Mentor Forum to learn more and meet other mentors.
Mentoring a team can be an incredibly rewarding experience, and having a mentor really does increase your chances of success. Work together and lets show the world the potential and passion of Canadian students at the 2012 Imagine Cup!