Becoming a Project Mentor

Do you work on OSS and would like to support women and non-binary people as they work full-time on your open source project for three months? RGSoC is a remote and distributed program, so you can get involved from anywhere, as long as you have access to the internet. We welcome project submissions in any programming language.

If you want to submit your project, please have a look at the following guidelines for project mentors and project submissions.

What does a good mentor do?

Mentors are vital to the program, as they:

  • are generally the ones to suggest a project
  • are the maintainer (or a core-contributor) of the project
  • are the dedicated contact person for the team throughout the program
  • are the experts on the open source project the team works on
  • design the roadmap for the project
  • give directions and provides feedback throughout the program
  • ideally are (or work closely with) the decision-makers for the project

The workload for project mentors is less intense than for coaches, who support students in their day-to-day work.

Please note that we aim to fund the RGSoC program through sponsorship and public donations. If you or your company are able to contribute, this would obviously be very much appreciated but is not a requirement of participation for project mentors.

What makes a good mentor?

Mentors are patient, tolerant and open people. You care about diversity and making open source projects more accessible to newcomers. Ideally, you are already familiar with the Rails Girls movement or other newcomer initiatives.

RGSoC teams are varied. In general, a good mentor is approachable and stays on top of the students’ progress.

Some student teams will reach out to their mentor frequently, while others will only do so when truly stuck. It’s important to check in with the students and see if there is a way you can help.

As a mentor, you are prepared to:

  • provide guidance and feedback concerning your project throughout the program
  • help prospective students apply for the program by suggesting and discussing issues or features for them to work on
  • be in contact with the students throughout the program
  • follow the rules of our Code of Conduct

How much time does being a project mentor take?

Every team and project is different with regard to the hours of work put in. But in general you can expect the following:

  • It’ll take some time for you to get acquainted with the program, the Organizers and the core team (onboarding)
  • You’ll invest some time at the beginning of the project to help your team get set up. Especially for more challenging projects, this can take quite a bit of time
  • You should be available via email and chat from July 1st to September 30th
  • Over the course of the program, you’ll spend about 1–3 hours per week answering student questions and emails
  • Twice a month, you will be expected to participate in a call which takes approximately 1 hour

I'd like to submit my project, but what if I have no time to be a mentor?

For a project to be considered for the program, the students must have someone they can rely on to answer their project-specific questions. As such, we feel that a core contributor to the project fits the role of mentor best.

However, we understand that the maintainers of some established projects have busy schedules. This is why we encourage you to ask the community for help. If there are other regular and motivated contributors to your project who you think fit the mentor profile and whom you trust to be experts on the subject, please ask them if they would be interested in taking part.

What is a good project?

A good open source project to propose for RGSoC:

  • has at least one open-source license (dual, OS/commercial licenses are usually ok but will be looked at on a case-by-case basis)
  • is established enough to allow collaboration (beyond the set-up phase)
  • has a dedicated contact person/maintainer
  • is beginner/junior-friendly (open to newcomers; maintains an inviting, helpful and understanding communication and a non-discriminating environment; etc.)
  • can abide by the rules of our Code of Conduct
  • ideally also has a Code of Conduct or similar guidelines
  • has to provide a mentor who will act as an expert in the project’s domain

Why should I submit my project?

By submitting your project for Rails Girls Summer of Code you are allowing your project to become part of a worldwide movement that encourages more diversity in open source. Furthermore, you will get:

  • the possibility to tackle time-consuming issues that you usually don’t get around to, e.g. implementation of new features
  • diverse feedback, e.g. suggestions on important/missing features, documentation improvements, a fresh outlook on your project, etc.
  • more visibility within the community
  • new contributors who might want to stick around after the program
  • all in all, the chance to develop a sustainable open source project

How do I submit my project?

Mentors can submit their projects using our Teams App starting in December 2019.

  • Sign up for the Teams App
  • Authenticate with GitHub
  • Click on “Submit your project” under “Summer of Code” in the navigation bar
  • By default, we assume the submitter is also the primary mentor. If that isn’t the case, enter the name of the primary mentor, as well as their email address and GitHub handle
  • Add the project’s name, website, repo and a description:
    • what the project is about
    • what stage it’s at
    • a few words about the team behind it
  • If your project has additional project coaches to help the students during the program, add their information in the project description
  • Add features and tasks: outline how you imagine the students to contribute, features you’re planning to work on, issues that need help
  • Add requirements: describe skills and experience students should bring to work on the project, e.g.
    • Provide a small example or coding challenge for students to solve upfront
    • Add links to online courses or katas students should be confident with
    • Frame possible features students could work on
    • Or just ask the students to contact you for more information about requirements
  • Add keywords: this can mean a language, like “Python”, a framework like “React”, but also specific technologies or concepts
  • Add the name of your license in the “license” field
  • You can flag your project as “suitable for beginners” by using the available checkbox
  • Click Submit

On the “All Projects” page, you can view all submitted projects and their status (proposed, accepted, rejected) as well as edit or delete your own submission.

After submitting your project, it’s likely that one of the Organizers will offer feedback or ask questions. It’s a good idea to keep an eye out for these.

Still got questions?

Then drop us a line at