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Announcing the SMB Mentoring Program

by Gerda de Vries

The Society for Mathematical Biology recognizes the importance of mentoring in the development of a successful career in mathematical biology, and is piloting a mentoring program. Our initial mentoring program is for the benefit of junior scientists attending the International Conference on Mathematics in Biology, Annual Meeting of The Society for Mathematical Biology, August 3-5, 2000 in Salt Lake City, Utah. 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.

If you would like to participate, either as a mentee or as a mentor (or both), contact the coordinator of the mentoring program. The coordinator will find suitable matches, 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'
We ask that mentors and mentees keep their discussions confidential to protect the privacy of everyone involved.

To sign up, contact the coordinator of the mentoring program:

Gerda de Vries
Department of Mathematical Sciences
University of Alberta
Edmonton, Alberta
T6G 2G1

fax: (780) 492 - 6826

In your message, please include the following information:

  • Your mailing address, email address, and fax number
  • A brief (one paragraph) description of your research interests
  • Your career stage
  • For 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.
  • 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!

If the pilot mentoring program at the Utah conference is a success, the SMB plans to introduce a general mentoring program, for the benefit of any member of the SMB looking for advice from a mentor at a more advanced career stage. The extended program will not be limited to meetings, and mentoring relationships may occur entirely via electronic means, so that anyone can participate. Watch for future announcements in the SMB Newsletter and the electronic SMB Digest.

See the Mentoring Website for more information on the mentoring program, including tips on good mentoring.