The MENTOR Project

was created to shed light on the benefits of mentoring. We know the benefits mentees receive from finding a good mentor. But did you know that mentors receive as many and often more benefits from mentoring than their mentees? Mentors report feelings of fulfillment, legacy, meaning productivity, and value. They feel connected to the world in a deeper way than before they became a mentor.

What do we do with the best and brightest experts?

Have them MENTOR the next generation!

Many of the most accomplished, brightest experts in every field of work have a desire to give back to the next generation, but they don't know how to get involved. We believe in the value of mentorship, and passing the torch of knowledge, information, innovation, culture, values and inspiration to the next generation. Not only do we change ourselves when we mentor, but we change the lives of our mentees, and we change the world. Every mentor makes a permanent impression, and the legacy lives on.

We are wasting our most precious natural resource.

It isn’t coal oil or gas. It is people!

What if growing older wasn’t something to fear? And what if the phrase “Tis Better to Give than to Receive” were actually true? This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community.

Do you have Science or Technology Questions you would like to ask one of our Mentors?
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The MENTOR Project brings top leaders in the field of science and technology into the classrooms.

  • Deborah Heiser, PhD


  • Bill "Ches" Cheswick

    Nerd Maker

  • Irene Yachbes, MS

    Chief Product Officer

  • Robert "Bob" Cousins


  • Larry Heiser


  • Gabriel Lewis


meet our mentors

Bill Cheswick Andrea Rothman Karen Fay Irene Yachbes Robert Cousins Linda Hancock Mike Passeretti

Do you have Science or Technology Questions you would like to ask one of our Mentors?
Please click on the button! Ask A Mentor We'll be sure to post an answer! Ask A Mentor

Do you have Science or Technology Questions you would like to ask one of our Mentors?
Please click on the button! Ask A Mentor We'll be sure to post an answer! Ask A Mentor


Elisha Gray is one of our more important and prolific inventors, yet today he is almost unknown.

Elisha Gray is one of our more important and prolific inventors, yet today his almost unknown.

In 1865, Elisha had his first invention – a self-adjusting relay for the telegraphic system. A relay is a form of electrically controlled switch. He received his first patent on this device two years later. He would be granted more than seventy in his long career.

In 1869, Elisha partnered with Enos Barton to found Gray & Barton Company in Cleveland, Ohio. This company manufactured telegraph equipment for the Western Union Telegraph Company – the largest telegraph company in the world.

Western Electric would be absorbed in 1915 by AT&T, American Telephone and Telegraph – the monopoly telephone vendor in the US.

One important byproduct of the Western Electric/AT&T operation was the founding of Bell Telephone Laboratories in 1925. This legendary lab produced many inventions including the LASER, the transistor and transformed computer science. In all, eight Nobel prizes were awarded to Bell Labs researchers.

It is clear that Elisha Gray could invent and develop useful technologies and build companies what could stand the test of time, but his greatest contribution was yet to be seen.

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Nikola Tesla

Whenever you see a high line traveling across the countryside, you will see that it usually carries three wires thanks to Tesla’s idea.

The higher managers in Continental Edison quickly noticed Tesla’s advanced knowledge and understanding of engineering and physics and were sending him around France and Germany to troubleshoot all manner of problems for the company. After two years of being a star, Tesla was transferred to the US in 1884.

He spent six months working with Edison’s attempts to use his direct current system in increasingly complex and difficult ways. Finally, Tesla quit in disgust. Legend has it that Thomas Edison promised Tesla a substantial bonus if he could fix a major flaw in Edison’s generators.

When Tesla redesigned them and solved the problem, the legend says that Edison refused to live up to his bargain. Or it could simply have been that Tesla was tired of trying to make Edison’s technology work when other technologies were superior. We really don’t know.

This marked the beginning of a bitter rivalry between Tesla and Edison that would leave a huge mark on the world’s economy.

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Thomas Edison

At the end of the nineteenth century, electrical technology still needed to mature. The leading force in bringing electricity to market was Thomas Edison, one of our greatest inventors. He also invented motion pictures, sound recording and dozens of other useful items.

Edison’s style of inventing was to figure out something the world needed, then go into his lab and try things until he had a solution. Edison was not a believer in mathematics or systematic science, instead he believed in hiring legions of smart people to try lots of solutions.

Edison was a great inventor but he was not highly skilled with electricity. He filled in the components in his vision with ideas he understood.

Edison was the first person with a vision for how electricity might be deployed. He wanted to bring electricity into people’s homes where they could replace open flames with safe electric lights. He set about creating each component required starting at the light bulb and working back towards the steam engine turning the dynamo. When he was done, he had a way to generate and distribute power to homes, then to meter usage for billing and finally to turn lights on and off at will.

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Samuel Morse

Samuel Morse is an enigma. For the first three decades of his life, Morse showed little sign that he would invent a world-changing technology.

He supported himself by working as a contract painter. He showed great promise as a painter and his work caught the eye of Washington Allston, perhaps the most famous artist in the country at that time.

Tragedy struck in 1825. Morse traveled from his home in New Haven to Washington DC to paint a commissioned portrait of Lafayette. One day, he received a letter from his father indicating that his wife was recovering from a serious illness. This was the first Samuel had learned of her illness. The next day, he received a second missive from his father informing Samuel of his wife’s passing and subsequent burial.

Morse was heartbroken. And he was frustrated at the slow communications of the day which had not given him the opportunity to return to his dying bride’s side in time.

Starting in 1830, Morse returned to Europe for two years—learning new painting techniques and visiting Italy, France and Switzerland. It was on the return voyage in 1832 that his life took a dramatic turn.">

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Steam, Culture, and the Industrial Revolution

Most experts will tell you that the Industrial Revolution started just before our War for Independence, in the middle 1700s, and continued for a century or more. Let us not get hung up on the dates. The truth is that the Industrial Revolution really started slowly around 1700 and continued until well after 1900 in the US.

Life before and after the Revolution was completely changed. In fact, if you were beamed back to 1700 to live, you would find it very strange, while you’d probably be much more at home in 1850.

One reason the revolution took so long was that so many things had to change. Another reason is that there were so many ways things could be improved upon.

Before the revolution, wind and muscles were the prime movers of the world. Sails provided movement over water. Everywhere else muscles did the work—either human or animal. The speed of movement was slow—limited by the walking speed of a horse or the wind—and it had not changed for three thousand years. Or to be blunt, Alexander the Great and George Washington both travelled at the same speed—slow. And a horse drawn wagon was the largest general unit of transfer.">

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Do you have Science or Technology Questions you would like to ask one of our Mentors?
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