Throughout my time here at the University of Michigan, I have had the opportunity to interact with and learn from several influential mentors. Most notably, Dr. Blackwood, a pediatrician at the C. S. Mott Children’s Hospital here on campus, has supported me through the process of developing and executing the research project I am writing about for my capstone project. In addition, Dr. Ranganathan, a University of Michigan plastic surgery resident, has been extremely helpful in maintaining the direction of the data collection process in the face of various obstacles encountered along the way. Despite the established relationship I have with these two individuals, I was initially hesitant to contact them about being my capstone mentors because I didn’t yet have a clear vision of my project in mind. I felt as though I was asking them to support me in a venture, but didn’t have specific things for them to assist me with.
I am curious whether other capstone students have experienced this same dilemma. Does the importance of contacting potential members early in the semester supersede the importance of having a well thought out project to pitch in the initial email or meeting? I personally decided to proceed with contacting my mentors before I had my production plan finalized, but I also had an established relationship with them. If I were contacting someone I didn’t previously know, I am not sure which decision I would have made. I am also not sure if there is a “correct” answer to this situation.