The latest Soapbox Science mini-series has been focusing on the role of mentors in science, tying in with this year’s Lindau Nobel Laureate meeting where almost 600 young scientists have the opportunity to meet each other and 25 Nobel laureates.
In our series of 14 guest posts we started with a day dedicated to women in science. Dr Meghan Groome raised some interesting questions about what is expected of a mentor:
” It is relatively easy to “show someone the ropes” and give advice in a crisis as mentoring often occurs via a one-on-one conversation. At some point, however, the mentor needs to take off the training wheels and have their mentee perform science in public.”
Next, Helen Wollaston, the newly appointed Director of UKRC-WISE asked whether the challenges that women face are different. Finally, Meghna Marjadi discussed The Science Club for Girls as an example of a female-friendly mentoring project.
“Science Club for Girls (SCFG) addresses the gender disparity in science by exposing young women to role models who help banish gender and racial stereotypes. Designed to increase K-12th grade girls’ (16-19 years old) confidence and literacy in STEM, the project provides free, out-of-school time programs that feature fun hands-on learning, teaching and leadership opportunities with adult scientists. “
During the series, we’ve also heard from scientists who’ve received positive mentoring experiences, including from a high school teacher and a graduate supervisor. You don’t often get to choose the person who is appointed as your mentor and when the relationship breaks down, you may need to seek other support. Malcolm shared his personal experience, confessing:
“Time wore on and progress was very slow (I found out later that the synthetic route proposed was not viable). Self-doubt increased and I questioned whether or not I was in any way proficient, or even capable of a scientific career.”
Finally, you may be thinking of becoming a mentor yourself, and might appreciate these useful tips from Dr Bosch which include how to establish trust, overcome barriers and keep communication clear and committed.
“Face‐to‐face meetings help to build trust, one of the most important ingredients for a successful mentor‐mentee relationship. Following through on scheduled meetings and other commitments are also essential for building trust.”
The full list of posts can also be found below – we’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments.
Summary of the # #MentoringSci Soapbox Science guest posts
- Mentoring Women in Science – Dr. Meghan Groome
- Is it different for girls? – Helen Wollaston
- The Science Club for Girls and the cycle of mentoring – Meghna Marjadi
- Journal of Emerging Investigators – Sarah Fankhauser
- Online Mentoring for Improving Scientific Literacy – Gurmit Singh
- Does Race Matter? – Stephani Page
- A Lecturer’s Perspective on Academic Mentoring – Michelle L. Oyen
- A Viewpoint on Good Mentoring – Michael Habib
- I’m just not clever – Vince Knight
- A Lindau Attendee’s Experience – Harshavardhan Reddy Pinninty
- My graduate school mentor – Mariena
- Nature Awards for Creative Mentoring in Science – Dr. Philip Campbell
- Strongest Advocate Strongest Critic – A Guide to Mentoring – Dr. C. Gita Bosch
For more discussions around this year’s Lindau meeting, check out the Lindau Nobel Community site.