MENTORING PROGRAM
FOR JUNIOR SCIENTISTS
ATTENDING THE
2014 Annual Meeting of The Society of Mathematical Biology

Objective

The Society for Mathematical Biology recognizes the importance of mentoring in the development of a successful career in mathematical biology.  Following the successful mentoring program at previous annual meetings, we are again offering a mentoring program for the benefit of junior scientists attending the 2014 Annual SMB / Joint JSMB conference, to be held in Osaka, July 28 - August 1, 2014.  The goal of this program is two-fold:

  • to optimize the educational and professional experience of mentees attending the conference;
  • to assist the mentees' socialization into the field of mathematical biology.


Turning a random walk into a focussed mission

This is the title of an article highlighting the mentoring program of the SMB that recently was published in the weekly online magazine Science Next Wave.  The article features comments from three very satisfied mentees at one of our recent annual meetings.
 

How does it work?

Anyone attending the annual meeting can sign up, either as a mentee, a mentor, or both.  Note that we do not offer the mentoring program outside of the annual meetings.

Junior scientists can request to be matched with a senior scientist. Junior scientists include students (both undergraduate and graduate), postdoctoral fellows, research assistants, newly appointed faculty members, etc.  Senior scientists include postdoctoral fellows, research assistants, faculty members, etc.  Because of the overlap in our definitions of junior and senior scientists, some individuals may sign up both as a mentee and a mentor.

If you would like to participate, contact the coordinator of the mentoring program (see below).  The coordinator will find suitable matches between mentees and mentors, based on research interests and/or special requests.

It is expected that the bulk of the interaction between the mentor and mentee will occur during the conference, although initial contact may be made before the conference.  Of course we hope that the relationship is mutually satisfying to the mentor and mentee, and will continue after the conference!

At the conference, we envision the following types of interactions, as the mentor and mentee see fit:

  • mentors introduce mentees to their colleagues to help the mentee establish a professional network;
  • mentors and mentees spend a lunch or dinner together discussing the mentees' educational and/or career objectives;
  • mentors share their career experience with their mentees;
  • mentors attend the (poster or lecture) presentation of the mentee and provide constructive feedback;
  • mentors spend some time explaining how conference presentations relate to each other, or how they fit into 'the bigger picture'.

While these activities are likely to be initiated by the mentor, it is essential for mentees to give some thought to their participation ahead of time. In the past, the most successful interactions have been where a mentee has specific goals they would like to achieve at the conference, or specific questions they would like to discuss with their mentor. We ask that mentors and mentees keep their discussions confidential to protect the privacy of everyone involved.
 

How do I sign up?

Please email the coordinator of the mentoring program by July 9, 2014:

Caroline Bampfylde
Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development
Government of Alberta
email address: mentoring@biomath.co.uk

Please include the following information in the main text of your email message:

  • Name, career stage, and affiliation (department and institution);
  • A brief description of your research interests (one paragraph will suffice);
  • Mentees: What are your personal goals for participation in the mentoring program?
  • Which of the conference keywords does your research falls under (may be more than one): Agriculture, Behavior, Bioengineering, Biofluid dynamics, Bioimaging, Bioinformatics, Biophysics, Cancer, Cancer therapy, Cardiac physiology, Cell biology, Computational biology, Developmental biology, Ecology, Ecosystems, Education, Epidemiology, Evolutionary biology, Genetics, Genomics, Immunology, Molecular biology, Morphology, Neurobiology, Physiology, Population biology, Population genetics, Regulatory networks, Spatial ecology, Systems biology, Tumor modeling
  • Mentees: Do you have any special requests? For example, perhaps you would like a mentor who speaks a certain language, lives in a certain geographical region, has a dual-career family, etc. Or perhaps you know of a senior scientist coming to the conference whom you would like to have as a mentor (if that person were available).
  • Mentors: Do you have any special expertise that may be of benefit to mentees? Please include with your information whether you are willing to interact with mentees in a language other than English, whether you can advise on dual-career issues, etc.

We cannot guarantee perfect matches, but we will try our best!
Thank you, Caroline Bampfylde & Carrie A. Manore (SMB mentoring committee).
 

Where can I find more information about mentoring?

The National Acadamy of Press has published an excellent guide with advice on how to become a better mentor:

Adviser, Teacher, Role Model, Friend:  On Being a Mentor to Students in Science and Engineering,
National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine,
National Academy Press, Washington DC, 1997.

You can also check out the following page with tips on mentoring provided by SMB members:

Mentoring tips
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