Mentoring Circle Program

This October 2014 to June 2015, the Office of Professional Development and Postdoctoral Affairs (OPDPA) would like to give BU Postdocs and Graduate Students the opportunity to participate in small group mentoring circles of 3-5 mentees that will be paired with 1-2 mentors. This will be a forum for career exploration, self-discovery and a safe and confidential space to seek advice and varied perspectives. We hope that groups will get to know one another, become each others advocates and accountability partners. A commitment to attend and participate in at least six monthly sessions will be required (contracts will be signed), as well as setting personal growth and group exploration goals.

We will attempt to match individuals based on interest areas. So far, we have recruited mentors from Academics (some with industry funding), Industry Group Leaders, Clinical Research Coordinators and Collaborative Program Managers. Please, tell us if you have specific areas of interest you would like to explore in a circle so we can be responsive to your needs.

Mentees: will be required to attend as many sessions as possible (at least 6 of 8 during the months of October 2014 to June 2015) and participate actively by preparing workshop materials, readings and questions. Being engaged in the mentoring process means taking initiative to help mentor to help you. An initial skills assessment could be suggested for the first session (my IDP: http://myidp.sciencecareers.org/)

Mentors: the commitment we will ask for is to attend an in person or online training session (to be determined) and then 8 hours during the months of October 2014 to June 2015. You will decide your priorities with your group of Mentees for topics for your sessions and you may distribute session discussion preparation responsibilities with the mentees.

Dr. Joanne Kamens (Addgene Executive Director) will give a workshop/training for all the enrolled mentors and mentees on October 6th from 5:30-8 pm at the room L-109A/B/C (BU Medical School, 72 E Concord street, Boston MA) to guide you through the mentoring experience. Pizza will be served.

Topics suggested: CV and job applications workshop, Time management, Alternative career paths, Grant writing tips and tricks, Interviewing, Psychological tests and learning style tests, Work-life balance, What it takes to make it in a given area, How to influence people/effective communication, Troubleshooting issues in lab, Conflict resolution, Management and budgeting, Establishing goals and measuring achievement: career planning, Skills assessment tools and identification of training needs (my IDP?), Networking and organizations to become involved in, Reading articles of interest or books or other, etc

Mentoring links:

http://blog.addgene.org/what-makes-a-good-mentor-and-6-more-faqs-about-science-mentoring

http://biocareers.com/bio-careers-blog/avoid-creating-mini-me-train-now-become-good-mentor

For more information, please email the organizers: Ayesha ayeshaislam@gmail.com or Cristina crisvm@bu.edu

If you would like to be part of this program, please fill out the Matching Form

Please complete the following form.
  • 1. Personal Information

  • 3. Professional

The GMS OPDPA Mentoring Circle program is now in its initial experimental phase.  It is a venue for postdocs to get advice, support and information from experienced mentors who commit their time to the program. It also provides a safe environment to discuss work/life issues and an opportunity to gain leadership experience. Over 10 participants have been involved in the program since its inception in March 2014.

Experimental phase of the program started with an event designed to introduce the concepts of mentoring and encourage goal setting for the next 6 months.  Planning for the March kickoff event, however, began in the fall. Flyers and emails were sent to the junior faculty and postdoc community to recruit volunteer mentors and interested mentees.  At the initial meeting, the circles, consisting of 3–5 peers and 1–2 mentors, were matched based on mutual interests, and career goals.  In the future, we will implement an electronic sign ups. The program also has ‘connector’ in place. The connector check in several times with program participants during the year to ensure the mentoring circles are meeting, verify that participants are enjoying the experience and provide materials or advice when needed. The experimental phase of the program runs from March to September, during which time the groups meet one time each month for several hours to discuss progress toward individual goals and various topics including balance of work and family, getting started in academia, tackling various academic track issues, career change exploration, transition to industry, learning to network, mid-career decisions, challenges faced during work and other career development topics.

In addition to the monthly meetings, Office of Professional Development and Postdoctoral Affairs (OPDPA) supplements Mentoring Circle Program with workshops and seminars such as “Building Mentoring Relationships,” and “Sharing Experiences as a Mentor and as a Mentee and the Lessons Learned.”