Mentor qualities that matter: The importance of perceived (not demographic) similarity. Academic Article uri icon


  • Mentoring, particularly same-gender and same-race mentoring, is increasingly seen as a powerful method to attract and retain more women and racial minorities into science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and careers. This study examines elements of a mentoring dyad relationship (i.e., demographic and perceived similarity) that influence the quality of mentorship, as well as the effect of mentorship on STEM career commitment. A national sample of African American undergraduates majoring in STEM disciplines were surveyed in their senior year. Overall, perceived similarity, rather than demographic similarity, was the most important factor associated with protg perceptions of high quality mentorship and high quality mentoring was in turn associated with higher commitment to STEM careers. We discuss the implications for mentoring underrepresented students and broadening participation in STEM.

published proceedings

  • J Exp Educ

altmetric score

  • 3.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Hernandez, P. R., Estrada, M., Woodcock, A., & Schultz, P. W.

citation count

  • 63

complete list of authors

  • Hernandez, Paul R||Estrada, Mica||Woodcock, Anna||Schultz, P Wesley

publication date

  • July 2017