Expand LogoThe EXPAND (EXperiential Projects for Accelerated Networking and Development) mentorship program provides undergraduate students with a choice of experiential projects, each of which has been designed by an EXPAND mentor to develop industry-relevant skills. The program matches prospective mentees to a mentor-project pair that best suits their interest. Then, the mentees work closely with their mentor towards their project’s completion over the course of a quarter (10 weeks), and they present their progress at two of their research group’s meetings. As the program concludes, mentees are personally guided through the application process for whatever their next step may be: an industry internship, continuing their research project, etc. Finally, mentees are invited to present their work at the EXPAND Poster Session.

In addition, we have partnered with UCSD alumni at Booz Allen Hamilton to organize professional workshops for our mentees where they will be trained on how to get the most out of their EXPAND projects, committee meetings, and future networking and development opportunities.

The benefits of EXPAND work both ways, since the program also provides mentors with an opportunity to practice mentorship in a familiar environment. In addition, we provide mentorship training through The Center and other resources on campus that junior mentors can take advantage of and more senior mentors can elect to help design and run where possible. This combination of practice and pedagogy, a defining feature of EXPAND, builds a solid foundation in critical leadership and management skills. EXPAND mentors are therefore well-prepared to take the next step in their own careers.

The overall mission of EXPAND is to remove the barriers to opportunities in the physical sciences and equitably prepare students for successful careers. If you have any questions about the program that are not answered here, please send us an email at student-success-center@ucsd.edu and we would be happy to answer them for you.


The program lasts for the 10 weeks allotted to Winter quarter in the UCSD academic calendar.

Mentee Applications

  • Spring (pilot) 2020-2021: January 4th - January 29th
  • Winter 2021-2022: October 18th - November 22nd
  • Winter 2022-2023: TBA

Mentor Applications

  • Spring (pilot) 2020-2021: October 19th - November 3rd
  • Winter 2021-2022: September 13th - October 4th
  • Winter 2022-2023: TBA


  • An EXPAND Expo is held before mentee applications open, where prospective applicants can meet next quarter’s mentors and discuss the program and their projects.
  • Venue: gather.town
  • RSVP: Not available


Undergraduate students who would like to participate in the program are expected to have little to no relevant experience, so we will focus on the following qualities when considering a student for selection:

  • In the earlier stages of their program
  • Has little to no experience
  • Is a good fit for their prospective mentor


An undergraduate student mentee must complete the following program requirements:

  • Work on their assigned project under the supervision of their mentor.
  • Prepare and present slides detailing their progress at the middle and end of the quarter:
    • Must prepare a set of slides for both presentations
    • Mid-term presentation is expected to take 10 to 15 minutes and should contain a brief discussion of the project's motivation as well as a summary of what has been done so far
    • Final presentation is expected to take 20 to 30 minutes and should discuss the motivation of the project, what was done/produced, and what was learned
  • Summarize their project and experience in a short (≤ 750 words), written report submitted at the end of the quarter
  • Must discuss their overall experience, their project, what they learned, and what challenged them
  • Mentees will not be expected to work more than 10 hours a week on their project.

For additional details on what is expected of our mentees, please consult the responsibilities and guidelines handout we give out to our mentees.


Graduate/Professional students or Postdocs who would like to serve as EXPAND mentors will be selected based on the following criteria:

  • At least 6 months of active participation in a research group on campus
  • Communicates a clear passion for mentorship
  • Demonstrates sufficient mastery of the essential skill(s) necessary for their vocation
  • Provides a satisfactory, written plan for the quarter that must include the following:
    • Outline of project
    • Biweekly goals
    • List of deliverables (e.g. skills taught, items produced, etc.)
    • Signature of approval by Principle Investigator


Every mentor is contractually held to the following responsibilities:

  • Attend and help organize the EXPAND Expo
  • Schedule at least one weekly meeting with your mentees
  • Maintain a reasonable schedule of availability:
    • Organize time slots for impromptu meetings on at least 3 individual work days that align with the mentee's schedule
    • Establish and regularly check a mutually reliable communication platform (e.g. Zoom, Skype, Slack, etc.)
  • Ensure that your mentees are progressing or change the project plan to fit their needs
  • Schedule and facilitate the two committee meetings where each mentee presents their progress

In order to get a better picture of exactly what being an EXPAND mentor will be like, please take a look at the responsibilities and guidelines handout we distribute to our mentors.


  • Mentee application form: Not available
  • Mentor application form: Not available
  • Industry representative interest form: Not available


  • RSVP form: Not available

Mailing list

If you want to stay up-to-date on EXPAND (e.g. application period announcements), please subscribe to our mailing list by filling out this form. You can also unsubscribe using that same form.