Templates and Tips

Sample STEM Midterm Review Notes

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Specific instructions for how to upload your midterm review notes in Worksuite can be found in our “Entering/Uploading Notes and Documents in Worksuite” guide.  For those interested in seeing examples, below are midterm review notes written by a past STEM mentor.  All names have been redacted to preserve the privacy of Hugo mentors and mentees.

Midterm Check in! Please offer an overview of what you've covered in your mentorship. so far and your mentee's progress. Please include your trajectory for the remainder of your mentorship, including any adjustments to the goals of your mentorship. This is shared with parents, so full sentences/details are appreciated!

We started by studying spin states of non-relativistic particles in quantum mechanics, which are described using something called a wavefunction, which is somewhat similar to a vector. We discussed how quantum properties differ from classical properties, how they can be measured (in particular, the so-called Stern-Gerlach apparatus), and how they can be described using wavefunctions. Importantly, the wavefunctions don't tell us an answer about the given property we look to measure, they only describe the probability of a given measurement: this is the key difference between quantum mechanics and classical physics.

Student has been working on problems regarding calculating probabilities and various mathematical aspects of the wavefunctions and related objects (specifically, the matrices that describe the spin basis). I also gave Studnet two special problems - one to compute something called a commutation relation for the spin matrices, which entailed a mini introduction to group theory (very closely related to the quantum concepts we've been studying), as well as a problem to compute the velocity of an electron in the lowest energy level of hydrogen. His solutions to these problems, as well as the numerous textbook problems undertaken so far, will be typeset in a final document which will comprise the product of his mentorship.

Mentee check in: Please summarize your mentee's progress as a student and strengths as well-- how have they grown over the course of the first half of your program? (This will be shared with parents, so some detail would be appreciated!)

Student has a wonderfully curious mind and a natural intuition for'asking the right question.' He has been doing a good job working independently, reading the textbook as well as surrounding material related to the physics concepts. So far, we have not seemed to need to explicitly introduce many new mathematical technologies; his background is extremely solid, especially for his age.

One skill that is gradually developed as a physicist is to know which aspects of a given problem are the most important and which aspects are to be sidelined for a given calculation. This is something that I am seeing Student slowly progress in and by the time we finish the mentorship, I expect that skill to be better honed.

What is the student's deliverable? Is the student still on track to complete this final project by the conclusion of the mentorship? If not, please let us know what your concerns are/what the risk factors may be.

As mentioned above, the final deliverable is a typeset document of Student's solutions to the quantum mechanics and related mathematics problems. He seems to be on track to have completed at least 10 quantum problems and 3 (pure) mathematical problems however in our next meeting (this Friday, 8/18), I will stress the importance of staying focused on that goal and not getting too sidetracked with additional, interesting physics concepts that won't amount to contributing to the deliverable.

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