My mentoring philosophy starts with helping students identify their interests and career goals by providing them with opportunities to explore a variety of different projects. All of the projects are substantive and publishable, but they are also secondary to the lab's primarily objective; the students are told early on that we'd love for them to succeed, but also that failure is possible and is acceptable. I work closely with students to guide their learning at a broad level (why is this project important?) to a more specific/technical level (how will you accomplish that step?). A strong understanding of the student's interests, strengths and weaknesses allows me to develop a personalized plan built around SMART goals, regular meetings, and student reflection.
Specific mentoring activities include:
- Weekly project meetings
- Identifying broader next steps
- Implementing technical solutions
- Writing a scientific abstract
- Preparing a scientific presentation
- Biweekly career development meetings
- Reviewing Individual Development Plans
- Identifying career opportunities
- Resume review
- Mock interviews
Mentorship is a symbiotic relationship between the mentor and mentee that fosters new discovery. Undergraduates provide critical research that pushes the lab forward, often in unexpected directions. And my role as a mentor is to provide undergraduates the technical experience and confidence necessary to achieve their goals - regardless of differences in career path, experience, background or identity. Altogether, my mentorship philosophy seeks to promote the next generation of strong, independent scientists from diverse backgrounds that will strive to make the world a better place.