Framework for Mentoring East Asian Women Scientists and Engineers


  • Karen Mancl The Ohio State University
  • Katrina Lee Moritz College of Law, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA



The goal of this preliminary study was to develop a framework for success in mentoring East Asian women scientists and engineers.  Six women participated in 2-hour interviews providing an oral history.  Common themes from their interviews revealed they brought some shared experiences from Asia.  While science and engineering studies were encouraged, especially for girls, they had little mentoring.  Upon coming to the US they found themselves isolated as an Asian and female minority, while feeling family and cultural expectations.  The findings of the study suggest a 4-part mentoring framework.  1. Mentors should be assigned. 2. At least 1 mentor should be a woman. 3. Mentors needed understanding of and to be able to discuss work/life balance and 4. Mentors need to work with protégés to help them with mission and goal setting.  This research supports findings of other studies that describe mentoring teams working with minority faculty and the importance of women mentors in providing psychosocial mentoring functions. This research uncovered the limited role of East Asian mentors.  Not all of the women had mentors from East Asia and some did not feel it was important.