An Undergraduate Research Opportunity: Collaboration Between Undergraduate and Graduate Students

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8 JOURNAL OF FOOD SCIENCE EDUCATIONVol. 3, 2004 2004 Institute of Food TechnologistsClassroom Techniques........An Undergraduate ResearchOpportunity: Collaboration BetweenUndergraduate and Graduate StudentsD.A. Dooley, R.M. Mahon, and E.A. OshiroABSTRACT: A research experience wasmade available to an undergraduateFood Science and Human Nutrition(FSHN) student through collaborationwith a Masters-level Nutrition gradu-ate student. Both students were underthe supervision of a graduate FSHNfaculty member. Positive, self-identifiedaspects for the students includedlearning how to work collaborativelyas a team member, gaining a betterunderstanding of the process of field-based research, and successfully com-pleting both projects. While caveats arenoted, we suggest that this process isan untapped opportunity to offer a re-search experience to undergraduates.It could be applicable in departments/units that maintain both an under-graduate and graduate program oracross departments where disciplinesare similar.IntroductionGuided empirical research is required in most Masters-level food science andnutrition programs and is virtually mandated in all Ph.D. programs; structured re-search experiences in the undergraduate curriculum tend to be required less pre-dictably and often are (or are not) provided at the discretion of the program. How-ever, Gonzlez (2001) has recently proposed that, in reality, the boundaries of un-dergraduate and graduate education may be blurring as the research university ma-tures, and that the mission of the university should be to introduce students to re-search at all levels, from undergraduate through postgraduate training.A number of authors have addressed the reasons for including research in theundergraduate curriculum. These include direct benefits to the student, such as in-creased critical thinking skills (Chaplin and others 1998); improved success ingraduate school (Nnadozie and others 2001); and better understanding of the eth-ics of scientific practice (Meers and others 2003/2004); and to the teacher/re-searcher, such as personal enjoyment on seeing the student succeed and exposureto the students novel problem-solving approaches (Halaby 2001). Indirect or long-term benefits may accrue also to the program or the institution, such as improvedevaluation or assessment outcomes (Heylings and Tariq 2001) and increased en-rollment in current undergraduate and future graduate programs (Chandra and oth-ers 1998).For a student to participate in research as part of his or her undergraduate experi-ence, access to successful mentoring is of crucial importance to enhance the un-dergraduates chances of remaining engaged in science (Killeen 2001). While de-scriptions of mentor may vary, several hallmarks seem to repeat: friend/counselor,older, authority in field, nurturer, respectful, and devoted (Ross Laboratories 1989).Traditionally, the undergraduates mentor has been a faculty member, either junior-or senior-level, who is currently engaged in research, thus allowing the undergrad-uate to work side by side with the faculty mentor and any graduate students alsounder the mentorship of the faculty member (Merkel 2003). The concept of facultymentoring undergraduates in research has advanced to the point where faculty areactually asking the undergraduates what they, the faculty, can do to be better men-tors and what characteristics make a good faculty mentor from the undergraduatespoint of view (Shellito and others 2001). Merkel (2003) have also suggested, eitherexplicitly or implicitly, that Ph.D.-level students and postdoctoral scholars mayserve as appropriate mentors for undergraduate research. These suggestions aresometimes couched in terms such as hierarchical mentoring (Killeen 2001) orholistic education through a coherent learning community (Gonzlez 2001).While the science education literature offers examples of undergraduates servingas mentors (or tutors) to other undergraduates in the science classroom (Allen andWhite 1999; Libarkin and Menke 2001/2002) and of M.S.-level students tutoringmiddle school students (Luedeman and others 2003) or functioning as teaching as-MS 20020450 Submitted 7/29/02, Revised 10/24/03, Accepted 12/24/03. Author Dooley is withthe Dept. of Human Nutrition, Food, and Animal Sciences, AgSci 314H, 1955 East-West Rd.,Univ. of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI 96822. Author Mahon is with Johns Hopkins Hospital,Dept of Nutrition, 600 N. Wolfe St., Baltimore, MD 21287-355. Author Oshiro is with Pearl CityHigh School, 2100 Hookeikei St. Pearl City, HI 96782. Direct inquiries to author Dooley ( 3, 2004JOURNAL OF FOOD SCIENCE EDUCATION 9Available on-line at: www.ift.orgUndergraduate-graduate collaboration . . .sistants for classes of undergraduate students (Killeen 2001), theuse of M.S.-level graduate students to mentor individual under-graduate researchers is not well documented. However, 2 publi-cations, 1 dealing with improving undergraduate science educa-tion (NSF 1996) and 1 with reshaping graduate education (NAS1995), both contain policy statements that seemingly recommendthat M.S.-level students could serve as mentors in undergraduateresearch projects. The NSF document calls upon university sci-ence, mathematics, engineering, and technology departments toprovide opportunities for graduate students at all levels to learnabout effective teaching strategies as part of their graduate pro-grams. The NAS document recommends that communicationskills might be sharpened through older students mentorship ofyounger students. We believe that this report may be the 1st thatdocuments such a mentoring experience, one in which an under-graduate researcher was successfully mentored by an older, moreexperienced M.S.-level student.Furthermore, 2 major professional food/nutrition organizations,the Institute of Food Technologists and the American Dietetics As-sociation, have identified a research experience (Newsome 1991;Simko and Gilbride 1992) or skills related to research (Eck andothers 1998; Hartel 2001) as crucial components of the baccalau-reate training of food science and/or nutrition students. Regardlessof these and other explicit mandates (NRC 1990; Thomas and Earl1994; Boyer Commission 1998), literature reports of successfulresearch experiences in food science or nutrition undergraduateprograms appear wanting (Dooley and others 1998; Smith 2001).A recent, extensive web-based literature search was also conduct-ed. The professional literature still appears limited with respect tosuccessful research experiences specific to food science and nu-trition undergraduate programs.Another issue perhaps needs explicit discussion: Should thisreport, itself, be considered to be research? Clearly, it is a casestudy, and case studies have long been accepted as research inother disciplines such as medicine (including clinical nutrition)and education. For education research, Merriam (1998) has de-fined a case study as qualitative research ... an intensive, holisticdescription and analysis of a single instance, phenomenon, or so-cial unit. In the 2nd edition of her book, she further provides arich description of the research process and contrasts qualitativeand quantitative research endeavors in education. For example,qualitative research is otherwise known as fieldwork/naturalistic/constructivist; its design is flexible/evolving/emergent; the sam-ple is small/nonrandom/purposeful, and data collection is ac-complished by interviews/observations/documents. In clinicalnutrition research, the case study or case history of 1 individual,likewise, is well defined. Study protocol and related records mustcontain specific elements; the research requires Institutional Re-view Board approval; and each case history must contain speci-fied information, such as how the single subject has met selectioncriteria and information from all tests/procedures performed (Al-brecht 1998). Unfortunately, no clear paradigm exists when sci-ence and education come together in either nutrition or food sci-ence education.Thus, we would like to suggest that this case-study reportshould be considered qualitative research and that, as such, itmay represent 1 of the 1st research reports documenting the pro-cess by which an applied science experience was made availableto undergraduate food science and human nutrition (FSHN) stu-dent Erica A. Oshiro (EAO) by working collaboratively with, andunder the direct mentorship of, Masters (MS) student Rachel M.Mahon (RMM). Both students were under the supervision ofFSHN graduate faculty member Dian A. Dooley (DAD).Project overviewThe focus of the research for both undergraduate and graduatestudents was primarily nutrition; however, we feel that this ar-rangement of having an undergraduate mentored by a graduatestudent, both of whom were mentored by a graduate facultymember, provides a unique example of addressing the responsi-bility of the university to expand opportunities for undergraduatestudents to experience research, especially field-based, appliedresearch. In addition, the process should be adaptable to otherprograms that maintain undergraduate and MS-level graduateprograms in the same, or related, fields.The Masters student fulfilled the research requirement of herMS program; the undergraduate met a Multicultural Scholars Pro-gram (MSP) research requirement (CFDA 2002). The MSP, fundedby a USDA grant, provides a full, 4-y-tuition scholarship to selectAsian and Pacific Islander students at the Univ. of Hawaii atManoa (UHM) through the College of Tropical Agriculture andHuman Resources (CTAHR). Requirements of the UHM-MSP Pro-gram include spending a summer of study outside of the UnitedStates, being mentored in an undergraduate research experience,and serving as a CTAHR student ambassador where needed. Bothstudents participated in a project investigating fruit and vegetable(F/V) consumption of elementary school students. They cooperat-ed to collect and analyze data that would have been difficult foreither to accomplish alone.The research process. The MS research project had been re-viewed and approved by the Committee on Human Studies atUHM before the undergraduate student joined the project. TheMS research questions (Figure 1) dealt with the effect of parentalinvolvement of F/V intake and the validation of a food-frequencyquestionnaire. Demographic information about the subjectgroups was to be collected, but played no other major role in dataanalysis for the MS project. Since the undergraduate student wasan MSP Scholar, she felt that learning more about the effect of eth-nicity on F/V consumption was an important research questionfor her. Since gender data were being collected and gender effectson F/V consumption were also not a part of the list of major MSresearch questions, the focus of the project was expanded so thatthe undergraduates research questions (Figure 1) dealt with theeffect of both ethnicity and gender on F/V intake.Twenty-two 3rd and 18 4th-grade students, including 24 girlsand 16 boys from after-school A-plus programs at 2 ethnically di-verse elementary schools in Honolulu, were recruited into thestudy by RMM and EAO. Parental and student consent were ob-tained for all 40 children. The graduate student, herself already anexperienced Registered Dietitian (RD), developed and refined theinstruments for collecting both 24-h recall and food frequencydata (FFQ) (Mahon 2000) and then trained the undergraduate stu-dent to collect data using food models, measuring utensils, and aguided interview script. Both students worked with approximately20 children, each, and always worked as a team, so that bothUndergraduate StudentObjective #1: To study the relationship between gender andconsumption of F/V in 3rd and 4th graders.Objective #2: To study the relationship between ethnicity andconsumption of F/V in 3rd and 4th graders.Graduate StudentObjective #1: To determine if involvement of parents in nutritioneducation for children increased reported F/V intake in childrenin the study.Objective #2: To evaluate the validity of a F/V food frequencyquestionnaire with the study sample.Figure 1Objectives for the 2 parts of the collaborative research project10 JOURNAL OF FOOD SCIENCE EDUCATIONVol. 3, 2004JFSE: Journal of Food Science EducationAvailable on-line at: www.ift.orgwere present during almost all interviewing sessions. Thirty-eightchildren provided usable intake data. Thirty-two children provid-ed usable ethnicity information (Hawaiian, part-Hawaiian, Asian,Caucasian, and Mixed/Other). A summary of the outcomes of theresearch is found in Figure 2.Both students also learned to teach the subjects a simple foodpyramid game (Britten 1993) and how to use a 7-p booklet (CDHS1994), modified to include ethnic F/V common in Hawaii. DADtrained RMM on protocol for data entry, and the graduate studententered her data and evaluated all results; EAO and DAD togetherentered the ethnicity and gender data, and EAO evaluated the re-sults. Details of statistical tests used and levels considered signifi-cant can be found elsewhere (Mahon 2000).The mentoring process. The graduate student had been work-ing with the faculty member for about 7 mo when the MCP Direc-tor asked to have the undergraduate student transferred from an-other advisor. Prior to this time, the faculty member and the grad-uate student had met regularly, once a week, and the graduatestudent had completed a comprehensive review of the literaturepertinent to her research questions. In addition, the petition to theCommittee on Human Studies had been written and filed. Oncethe undergraduate student became part of the research project,she also was required to complete a review of the literature, fo-cused on F/V intake, ethnicity, and gender, and prepare a writtenreport which summarized the literature. Then, the 2 students be-gan meeting weekly with the faculty person to conceptualize andplan the expanded project and to discuss and agree upon indi-vidual responsibilities. By the end of the 2nd semester of the MSproject, the on-site recruitment had begun and, within anothermo, the research was under way. During the on-site part of theproject, the students and faculty advisor kept in touch as neces-sary, through e-mails and by phone. The faculty member neededto have minimum involvement on site, since the 2 students hadorganized the project carefully and no major research issuesarose that could not be solved otherwise.Evaluation of experience: students commentsThe following comments from the undergraduate student werecollected from an oral presentation given by her at an annual col-lege-wide research symposium, from her written report of the re-search experience, and from conversations between her and thefaculty member. The comments from the graduate student werecollected from an oral presentation given by her in defense of herM.S. thesis, from her written M.S. document, and from conversa-tions between her and the faculty member.Undergraduate student. In reflecting initially about her experi-ence as a Multicultural Scholar and the value of the researchproject, Erica commented, By being able to work with Rachel, Igained a lot. I didnt have to think about what kind of project Iwould do; it would have taken me forever to do that by myself.Without the collaboration, I would never have been able to pullany of it off. A less involved project (for example, a small-scalequestionnaire among my peers) would not have fulfilled my re-search requirement for the MSP, and I would have had to comeup with a project on my own.Shortly after the completion of the project and her formal pre-sentation of her research results, Ericas comments relating to thecollaborative process continued, It was fun working with Rachel.It was great learning the questioning process, and the why andhow of how research should be done. That helped me to see whatwas involved with conducting research. Through collaboration, Iwas able to piggyback on Rachels thesis project and use the in-formation she collected while helping her to collect data from theelementary students. I was able to use data we collected as ateam; it looked better in my report with the 40 subjects than withhalf that number. Erica also identified places where the processcould have been improved, If I would have had a chance to gothrough the complete process [including preliminary planningand initial school recruitment], that would have been good, too. Itwould have made the whole project go faster and the parentswould have been able to see who the people were [who were] in-volved in the research.Later, as a graduate student, Erica recognized the long-term val-ue of the experience. It was good to collaborate on this project. Itallowed me to learn the process and forced me to be more thor-ough than I usually am. It is now helping me to conduct researchin my Masters of Education Program.Graduate student. From the beginning of the collaboration,Rachel was able to identify the value of having Ericas help. Inparaphrasing what she wrote in her M.S. thesis (Mahon 2000),Rachel said, From having Erica work with me, I was able to in-clude double the participants compared to what I would havebeen able to do alone; or, I was able to complete the data collec-tion in half the time it would have taken me alone. It also forcedme to standardize in written form the way questions were askedwithout having to be told to do so. Having a local involved inthe data gathering helped. Besides, it made the downtime go fasterand it was enjoyable to work with her.Rachel further introspected how Erica helped her become abetter mentor and learn to be a better researcher, herself. By be-ing a mentor to Erica, I explained and taught the protocol. Thathelped me work out some of the kinks that didnt materializewhen I was turning things over in my own mind. I realized howimportant it is to have things well-planned before involving some-one else. This experience also strengthened my mentoring skillsand helped me to realize how important the training for additionaldata collectors is.Rachels unsolicited comments about the role of the facultymentor also helped strengthen our argument regarding the impor-tance and value of the overall experience, when she stated, Ithought you (DAD) did a nice job matching up the 2 of us togeth-er and helping to clarify the roles and responsibilities for both ofus, which was important. I think it went smoothly. Furthermore,Rachel felt comfortable making recommendations that the processbe continued, but also understood some of the barriers to imple-menting such a process. Her comments included, I think youshould consider doing something like this more often, either asextra credit or as a standard option for undergrads for credit.However, you may not be able to give enough extra credit [to thefaculty member] for a big commitment like research can be.Undergraduate student* Statistically significant results were found between genders inreported consumption of vegetables from the average of 2 pre-intervention 24-h recalls. Boys ate about 2.8 servings/d; girls ateabout 0.7 servings/d.* No significant difference was found between genders inreported fruit consumption.* No significant differences in either fruit or vegetable consump-tion were found among ethnic groups.Graduate student* No significant differences were found between baseline andpostintervention consumption for either the control group orintervention group for any of the 8 measures of F/V intake. At theend of the study, a nonsignificant trend of 2 servings/d more wasfound in vegetable consumption of the intervention group.* The FFQ was not a valid measure of F/V consumption whencompared to the 24-h recall data.Figure 2Summary of outcomes from the collaborative research projectVol. 3, 2004JOURNAL OF FOOD SCIENCE EDUCATION 11Available on-line at: www.ift.orgUndergraduate-graduate collaboration . . .A second look, 2 years afterwards: students commentsLong-term effects of a process are often overlooked, but may beone of the more important criteria to use in evaluating the efficacyand value of an experience. The student participants offer the fol-lowing comments 2 years past the completion of the project:Undergraduate. Writing from the perspective of a finishinggraduate student, Erica offered, at the end of her student teachingexperience, Currently, I am a graduate student in the Master ofEducation in Teaching (MET) Program (at UHM). I just finished mystudent teaching at Kailua High School and will be interning atPearl City High School starting January13, 2003. I will become acertified science teacher in the State of Hawaii in the spring of2003. Working with Rachel on the project has helped me in myMasters program, because the MET Program is based on collabo-ration and reflection. The practice I had working with Rachelhelped to establish a good base for me to collaborate well withthe members of my MET cohort.Ericas views on the value of the collaborative process remainedstrong as evidenced by her further comments. I also do a lot ofcollaboration with my mentor and other science teachers atKailua. In doing so, I am better able to teach my students and be-come a more effective teacher. I also gained new ideas for lessonsand I am able to work with others. The collaboration taught me tobe patient and to listen before dismissing anything. It also taughtme to be more open to others thoughts and ideas and to consid-er all points before taking any action. This is a good skill to havewhen teaching.Graduate. Rachel returned to work as a Registered Dietitianwithin a year after completing her M.S. She continued to value thelessons and skills learned during the collaborative research expe-rience with Erica. In reference to the value for her professionalmentoring skills, she wrote, I presently am working as an outpa-tient clinical dietitian at a major research hospital where I providenutritional counseling for oncology patients. Many of my patientswho are receiving treatment are on research protocols, some ofwhich specifically involve nutrition interventions. Because of myinvolvement in the grad/undergrad research, I have a better un-derstanding of how to communicate and mentor students at anundergraduate level. This helps me to be a better mentor for (die-tetic) interns in the clinical setting. In addition, regarding her cur-rent involvement as a research dietitian, she commented, I alsohave a greater appreciation for the magnitude of work involved inconducting research and the importance of clearly establishinggoals and providing guidance throughout the researchproject.Finally, Rachel identified other benefits of the collabora-tive experience. She said, Because of my experience on the men-toring end of this relationship, I feel I have increased confidencein working with research physicians, nurses, and other staff. I alsofeel better equipped to work with the patients who are on the pro-tocols for 2 reasons. First, having gone through the entire researchprocess, I understand the process more thoroughly and under-stand my role in the big picture. Second, having trained Ericaand becoming acutely aware of potential differences in data gath-ering, I realize the importance of being consistent with what otherdietitians on the research protocol are doing. Overall, I think myexperience in the grad/undergrad research has been immenselyhelpful in my current work.Evaluation of collaborative process: faculty memberscommentsIn reviewing the comments from the 2 students, several themesemerge:1. Collaboration proved beneficial to both students.2. Neither student felt she could have accomplished the workalone.3. Careful matching of students is of utmost importance for a suc-cessful project.4. The students enjoyed the experience.5. The collaborative venue should be offered to other studentpairs.Logistical problems did arise because of the necessity of 2 peo-ple working at 2 schools with subjects who were difficult to recruitand retain in the study. However, their collaborative effort did al-low them to collect information that would have been difficult foreither to have collected alone. This was of particular importanceto the graduate student, because financial and time constraintscan limit MS-level research. It also gave the graduate student (al-ready a Registered Dietitian) the experience of training and work-ing with a less-experienced student. Both students learned thatcarrying out the responsibilities involved in a research project foreven a limited number of subjects can be tedious and time-con-suming, and that organization and communication are para-mount for success.Special attention should also be paid to possible modificationsto the role of the faculty advisor in this type of experience. Asidefrom the usual responsibilities of mentoring both students as theyexplore options and then guiding them in planning and executinga viable research project, the advisor must also be able to evalu-ate which part (and how much) of the project is appropriate andadequate for the MS student to complete and what portion couldbe given to the undergraduate student. In addition, the faculty ad-visor must be willing to allow the graduate student more autono-my than perhaps customary (or comfortable to some), so that thegraduate student can truly function as a mentor to and a coinvesti-gator with the undergraduate. Lastly, it is of utmost importance forthe faculty advisor to establish the expectation of open and frankcommunication between team members and maintain that com-munication throughout the duration of the project, includingthrough the preparation of manuscripts for publication. I (DAD)believe that this experience has been such a positive one for all 3of us because we were able to work as a team and could respectthe strengths that each of us brought to the endeavor.We feel that the collaborative effort between the undergraduatestudent and the MS candidate facilitated the research process andprovided each with valuable field-based research experience. Theresearch design was already formalized when the undergraduatestudent joined the project. Upon inspection of data being collect-ed, EAO, herself, quickly identified the questions about genderand ethnicity. Thus, no changes to the protocol were needed; andno data were subtracted from the MS research project, sinceRMM was planning to collect ethnicity and gender data for demo-graphic purposes only. Subsequently, EAO reported on her por-tion of the research at the 2000 CTAHR Student Research Sympo-sium and placed 1st in the undergraduate oral report category.Implications for future projectsThis report describes the success of 1 undergraduate food andhuman nutrition science student being directly mentored in anapplied research experience by 1 M.S.-level nutrition science stu-dent. Obviously, this is a qualitative case study and should not bemisconstrued as representing quantitative research or used tosupport any allegation that this type of mentorship will necessarilybe successful in subsequent pairings of students, here in Hawaiior elsewhere. It is clear that, while single-case studies may be use-ful for a variety of purposes, there may not be generally acceptedways for drawing inferences about the generality of findings froma (single) case study (Kennedy 1979). It is of interest to note, how-ever, that both EAO and RMM identified a number of the 13 con-cepts identified in Shellito and others (2001) as tips for successfulundergraduate mentoring experiences. These include developinga project that was well defined and of interest to the students; un-derstanding and communicating mutual expectations; giving pos-12 JOURNAL OF FOOD SCIENCE EDUCATIONVol. 3, 2004JFSE: Journal of Food Science EducationAvailable on-line at: www.ift.orgitive, constructive feedback and encouragement; and offering ca-reer guidance.We recommend this type of undergraduate-graduate collabora-tion to others regardless of the specific discipline, but especiallyfor food science and/or nutrition programs interested in includinga research experience in the undergraduate curriculum. We alsofeel that this type of collaborative process could work in a labora-tory setting as well as it has in this community-based, applied re-search setting. However, given the usual paucity of graduate stu-dents compared to the number of undergraduate students in aprogram, this might be problematical.Two issues seem to be of major importance in this type of men-toring/collaboration process. The 1st is the choice and level of theresearch questions asked by each of the students. We did nothave to face this issue directly, since the MS project had been for-malized and the undergraduate research was piggybacked ontothe data already being collected. In future projects, it may be ad-visable to consider in more detail the level at which each piece ofthe research inquiry should be made and research objectiveswritten; for example, Blooms Taxonomy (Krumme 2001) to fit bet-ter the level of sophistication of the individual students.The 2nd issue may be more problematicthat involves thecareful matching of the 2 students. We were limited by the avail-ability of students, particularly graduate students, with whom topair an undergraduate. Our pairing, in a small graduate programand moderately large undergraduate program, was fortuitous. Thegraduate student already had experience as an RD, both in a hos-pital on the mainland U.S. and in a community developmentproject in the Philippines as a Peace Corps volunteer. In addition,the undergraduate student was in her senior year with her sum-mer of foreign study completed. Both were focused in their goalsand mature in the handling of the research experience. In largerprograms, it might be advisable to preselect the student coopera-tors based on a more formal evaluation of their learning stylesfor example, accommodator, diverger, assimilator, converger (Mc-Carthy 1981); Myers-Briggs personality stylesfor example, ex-trovert, introvert, sensor, intuitor; and/or stages of knowingforexample, absolute, transitional, independent, contextual (BaxterMagolda 1992). In addition, pairing of the cooperators shouldtake into account the maturity of both students, students level ofcompetency with both discipline-related knowledge and neededskills, and amount of faculty supervision required during the re-search.ConclusionsWe feel that this experience has helped in some small way torealize Gonzlez vision of undergraduate research as being partof a 5-part continuum of learning in the research community,from lower- and upper-division undergraduates, through the M.S.and Ph.D graduate levels, to that of the postdoctoral scholar. Inaddition, our experience documents that an M.S.-level studentcan serve as the hinge, linking undergraduate and graduate ed-ucation and displaying features of both (Gonzlez 2001). Whilethis is not a report in the-more-familiar quantitative research style,we believe that this report does constitute legitimate qualitative re-search as defined by Merriam (1998). The current education liter-ature, however, is not rich in examples to help document this par-adigm (see, for example, Bruce and others 2003; Meers and oth-ers 2003/2004). Better and more plentiful examples can be foundin the recent medical-related literature (Agnew and others 1994;Davis and Coltheart 1999; Pistrang and others 1999; Chan andMa 2002). We also believe that documentation of our experiencecan play a role in further understanding the successful mentoringprocess in a qualitative way and can serve as a useful example toothers who study human behavior, especially in an educationalsetting. We hope, too, that this report will encourage others to ex-plore other variations of the mentoring experience and publishtheir findings in journals that report on methods in science educa-tion.Acknowledgments The study was reviewed and approved by the Committee onHuman Studies at the Univ. of Hawaii at Manoa. Information onmaterials is available from the corresponding author (DAD). 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