How can completing a self-directed capstone project enhance my medical career?

The capstone program provides students with a valuable opportunity to self-direct an area of their medical school curriculum. Completion of a capstone project can enhance a student's career by providing experience in an area that strengthens their professional development, provides a mentor relationship that connects them with a professional in the field, and familiarizes them with the pursuit of scholarly research. Students are encouraged to choose an area that they are passionate about and to complete a high quality capstone project.

What if a project crosses into multiple concentrations?

There are many scenarios in which a project could fit into more than one concentration. Students are encouraged to select the concentration that most closely fits with their project and work with their mentor and concentration coordinators to choose selective courses that best support the project objectives. It is possible for students to take selective courses in more than one concentration, with approval of the mentor and appropriate concentration coordinators.

When do students choose a concentration?

Students choose their concentration at the end of the fall semester of Y1. This occurs after concentration introduction seminars and other events designed to familiarize students with the concentrations have taken place. Faculty are available to answer questions for students who are deciding between concentrations and students are encouraged to review Choosing a Concentration (PDF). 

Is assistance provided to students in choosing selective courses?

Students can work with their mentor and/or concentration co-coordinators to discuss selective courses that would best support their capstone project. The Course Director is also available by appointment to talk with students. 

What should a student expect from their mentor?

Mentors are individuals with professional expertise in a concentration area and the commitment to help guide the development of a future physician. Mentors meet with students in person at least once per semester to foster a productive mentoring relationship and to provide feedback on capstone projects. Students also receive regular project feedback from their mentor via online portfolio. An overview of mentor and mentee expectations can be found in the Mentor Mentee Compact (PDF). 

When are mentors selected? How do students identify prospective mentors?

Students select their mentor in May of Y1. Students are given multiple opportunities to interact with prospective mentors including mentor fairs, concentration seminars, and other events. Students are encouraged to discuss their mentor choice with any faculty in the School of Medicine including concentrations coordinators and academic advisors. Mentors and students sign a Mentor Mentee Compact outlining expectations for both parties that is included in the student's electronic portfolio.

If I register as a prospective mentor, what is the likelihood that I will be selected?

Mentor selection is a decision made by students based on mutual scholarly interest in a potential capstone project. There is no guarantee that a prospective mentor will be selected by a student. However, mentors not selected in the first year can remain in the database for future student consideration. 

Do I need to be a physician in order to mentor a medical student?

Capstone project mentors can come from a variety of professional fields as long as they have expertise in one of the offered concentrations. Co-mentoring with a School of Medicine faculty member is also available.

How much time will mentoring take?

Mentoring requires a commitment to the medical student's success. The mentor/mentee relationship begins in the second year of medical school and continues through the fourth year, with regular contact between the mentor and mentee. At least one face to face meeting per semester is required, with additional project updates available electronically via online portfolio. 

Is training provided for mentors?

All mentors who are selected by a student will be required to participate in training. Training will be provided in mentoring as well as in the use of electronic portfolio software. 

What if I am interested in becoming a mentor?

Prospective mentors can fill out our online registration form to request to be listed in our prospective mentor pool.