Anyone attending the annual meeting can sign up during conference registration, either as a mentee, a mentor, or both. 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. The membership program coordinator will attempt to 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, the membership program encourages the following types of interactions:
- 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. The Society for Mathematical Biology ask that mentors and mentees keep their discussions confidential to protect the privacy of everyone involved.
If you have any questions about the mentoring programme please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where can I find more information about mentoring?
1. 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.
2. Turning a Random Walk Into a Focused Mission, Kirstie Urquhar. Science Careers, 2013