Matching by Race and Gender in Mentoring Relationships: Keeping our Eyes on the Prize


  • The data collection for this analysis was undertaken by MentorNet, and this material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. EEC-0639762. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. Information about the sample can be found in the following report:

Stacy Blake-Beard, Simmons College, School of Management, 300 The Fenway, Boston, MA 02115 [e-mail:].


This study examined the extent to which science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) students reported having had mentors of their own race and gender and the extent to which they have adopted the idea that matching by race and gender matters. The study also documented the effects of race and gender matching on three academic outcomes, self-reported grade point average, efficacy, and confidence, based on data collected from 1,013 undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral scholars actively participating in MentorNet's online community. Analyses indicated that having a mentor of one's own gender or race was felt to be important by many students, especially women and students of Color. Students who had a mentor of their own gender or race reported receiving more help, but matching by race or gender did not affect academic outcomes. Key findings are discussed in terms of implications for future research and mentoring in the STEM fields.