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expand-dark-cropped.pngThe 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). In addition, each student presents their progress at two meetings with a committee comprised of their mentor, an administrator from The Center, and a local industry representative. Finally, we have also 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. First, the program provides mentors with an environment where they can 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. At the same time, EXPAND gives industry representatives the unique and fulfilling opportunity to get to know an undergraduate student, understand exactly what preparation they have, and help direct them towards the next step in their career.

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 and we would be happy to answer them for you. 

Program Timeline


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

Mentee Applications

  • Spring (pilot) 2020-2021: January 4th - January 29th
  • Fall 2021-2022: N/A
  • Winter 2021-2022: October 18th - November 22nd

Mentor Applications

  • Spring (pilot) 2020-2021: October 19th - November 3rd
  • Fall 2021-2022: N/A
  • Winter 2021-2022: September 13th - October 4th 


  • An EXPAND Expo is held once per quarter, where prospective applicants can meet next quarter’s mentors and discuss the program and their projects.
  • Venue:
  • RSVP: not available

Mentee Details


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.

Mentor Details


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 mentee
  • 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 infrastructure for virtual communication (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.

Industry Representative Details


Industry representatives are contacted by EXPAND program coordinators after mentors are selected. If you are interested in being an industry representative, please enter your email and some basic  information here


Industry representatives are responsible for attending two (~1 hour) meetings. At each of these meetings, industry representatives are tasked with evaluating the student’s progress as they might an intern or junior employee:

  • Mid-quarter meeting (January 31st to February 7th): Mentee updates their committee on their timeline for their project, what challenges they are facing, and what they have learned so far. Industry rep. evaluates mentee’s plan, asking questions when possible to assess practicality.
  • End-of-quarter meeting (March 7th to March 14th): Mentee summarizes their project and presents results if possible. Industry rep. asks questions about the project to evaluate the mentee’s performance and understanding.

In addition, industry representatives and undergraduate mentees are expected to develop a professional rapport, with the goal of facilitating their transition into industry and/or their education on what industry opportunities are currently available -- specifically those that are relevant to the skills and interests they have developed through EXPAND. For a more complete picture of the industry rep role, please see the responsibilities and guidelines handout we distribute to our industry reps.

Applications and Forms


  • Mentee application form: Not available
  • Mentor application form: Closed.
  • 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.