Solar Week - Ask a Question

Come here during Solar Week (next one: March 22-26, 2021) to interact. To post a question, click on your area of interest from the topics below, and then click on the "Ask New Question" button. Or EMAIL or tweet or plant in Answer Garden your question about the Sun or life as a scientist to us -- and watch for it to appear here.  You can also visit our FAQs (frequently asked questions). In between Solar Weeks in October and March, you can view all the archives here.

PrevPrev Go to previous topic
NextNext Go to next topic
Last Post 3/26/2021 5:55 AM by  Mitzi Adams
Being a mentor
 2 Replies
You are not authorized to post a reply.
Author Messages

3/25/2021 12:49 PM
    Hi there,

    As a scientist, what are some of the ways that you are a mentor to students or junior scientists? Or what do you think are ways to be a good mentor?

    Thanks in advance!

    Tags: inspiration, mentorship
    Christina Cohen
    Basic Member
    Posts:148 Basic Member

    3/25/2021 1:05 PM
    Hi Jess,

    This is a great question without a simple answer. I think there are a lot of ways to be a good mentor... I would argue that the most important things are a) being available and b) listening. I also think that there is a lot of overlap between being a mentor and being a role model, and both of them can help young scientists and those considering going into science.

    For myself, I've done things like give talks in public locations (e.g., planetariums) as well as schools (middle and high schools) and stay to talk to people afterwards. I give my contact information to those that would like to follow up, particularly in some kind of 'advisory' way. I've had summer students work with me (both high school and college aged); I've been on a number of panels answering questions from grad students and young scientists covering a range of topics relating to career paths etc; I've had a lot of 'off hours' informal conversations with younger scientists I've met during conferences etc.; and even just answering emails or putting the person in contact with someone else that is better positioned to help them.

    Sometimes being a mentor is a longer-term thing (like advising a student during a project), but sometimes, I think, it is just being there for the conversations when the person is dealing with specific issues (professional, scientific, or personal) and when they need to talk.

    Mitzi Adams
    Basic Member
    Posts:101 Basic Member

    3/26/2021 5:55 AM

    I have mentored students during summer internships, when I provided a project, and helped the student complete the project. At other times, I mentored students during the school year, either through "shadowing", which was for just one day, or by providing a project and assisting the student complete the project. I've also participated in panel discussions for informal education events, given planetarium programs that also involved showing students how to use the planetarium projector, answered questions via email, and more recently, spoken with students virtually.

    To be a good mentor, it is important to remember that none of us were born with our knowledge of science. Most of us had to work really hard to finish school and obtain our position. So patience is a very good trait. Also encouragement: encouraging the student to ask questions, even when they (the students) think the question is "dumb". If a concept is not clear to the student, the mentor should happily re-explain. Finally, as Christina said, sometimes a mentor needs to just listen to whatever issues the student may have.
    You are not authorized to post a reply.

    Twitter Feed

    Scientist Leaderboard

    Name # of replies
    Multiverse skin is based on Greytness by Adammer