Our first project as a community group is to facilitate a mentoring program to help connect the young and accomplished women in learning theory.
Why Mentoring ? Why having a Mentor ?
Mentoring programs have been shown to greatly help underrepresented communities to grow . More resource on Mentoring can be found on the website of Stanford's Women's Leadership Innovation Lab. Mentoring allows to create strong bounds of trust within the community, it helps Mentees finding career advice and connections, and it helps Mentors growing their leadership skills while keeping in touch with the newcomers of the community.
Why being a Mentor ?
Women are under-represented in our Learning Theory community and women's work tends to be also less visible, making it hard for new students to get to know their peers. Being a Mentor is a way to make yourself more visible to young student, and to help one (some) of them develop their career for some time. It is a way to reflect on your own experience and grow your leadership skills while helping the community as a whole by promoting diversity.
Who can be a Mentor ?
Nearly everyone who has some experience in academia or industry. It can be interesting for an undergrad student to receive advice from senior PhD Students or PostDocs who already had to reflect about career decisions and can share knowledge about their work environment. We indeed expect the most senior researchers to apply for being Mentors, but we would also like to encourage PhDs and PostDocs to consider mentoring (while possibly having a mentor as well!).
Can men apply as Mentors ?
Yes. Even though we want to prioritize women, we will allow men applicants pair them only with the mentee's approval.
Why being a Mentee ?
Having a Mentor is one of the best ways to get some external career advice, to get some feedback from someone with a possibly similar background. Managing to find one's way into academia or science is not easy and it is made even harder for under-represented group who lack role models and/or reasonable advice that do not assume or rely on some class privilege. It helps managing professional and personal issues that men may not always have. It is also a way to get connected to other members of the community, or have second opinions on research strategies.
 Ginther, D. K., Currie, J., Blau, F. D., & Croson, R. (2020). Can Mentoring Help Female Assistant Professors in Economics? An Evaluation by Randomized Trial. NBER Working Paper No. 26864. https://doi.org/10.3386/w26864
Please consider applying for either or both roles below !
I am not sure I have time to commit to such program, how flexible can it be ?
The amout of time committed is up to the Mentor and Mentee to decide. Some initial frequency is decided over the first meeting but it can be updated as time goes and workload evolves. Also, it is totally fine to sign up for a short (3-6 months) mentoring exchange if that is what works best for you at that time. Feel free to discuss this over your first meeting.
What are good topics ? As a Mentor, I am not sure what to say or share ?
While setting up the mentor/mentee pairs, we will do our best best to match interests. We encourage the mentee to find a couple of questions, possibly broad and general, to kickstart the exchanges. Topics can vary from career choices (academia vs industry) to research advice or work-life balance. You can also look into references in Stanford's Women's Leadership Innovation Lab for more specific advice. Please see the Mentor resources at the bottom of this page for more information.
Are mentoring meetings confidential ?
Yes. During the first meeting, the mentor and mentee should agree on the confidentiality of the exchanges. It is an important aspect in building trust within the pair.
When will the program start ? Will I miss the opportunity if I am not ready yet ?
We are planning to start pairing between Nov 15th and Nov 30th. So first mentor-mentee pairs should come out in December. However, we plan to continue the pairing as candidates come in. For example, if we do not have enough mentors for everyone, we may not be able to pair all the candidate mentees this month. But hopefully, as mentors come in, we can create more pairs in the future. So, please apply anytime !
[Your question here]
We will update this section as we receive questions from the forms linked above :)
Resources for Mentees
By participating in this program, you are given an opportunity to receive advice that may have a large impact on your career. To make the best use of this opportunity, it is in your best interest to make the most out of your meetings with your mentors. Here are some tips to help you grow:
Come prepared to your meetings, ideally with one topic you would like to discuss, or one or two questions, and let your mentor know ahead of time so that they can be prepared. Think about career decision you will have to make, work-life balance issues, interactions in the lab or in the team, etc.
Take the opportunity to share your experiences and learn from each other.
Listen as much as you can, and try to ask question and not to "argue" too much with your mentor's advice. Be open to different perspectives and thought processes.
Respect your mentor's time (try to stick to the commited time of the meeting, be on time and finish on time),
Resources for Mentors
Mentoring is a lifelong learning task and requires various sets of skills. We give some tips and recommendations below but indeed you should expect to learn as you exchange with your mentees. Mentoring will help you grow your leadership skills in many different ways ranging from listening capacity, growth mindset, situation analysis.
Agree confidentiality and boundaries
Clarify aims and objectives
Establish priorities and confirm timescales (meeting frequency, duration, possible end date),
Ask each other open questions on your trajectory so far, research interest, life situation, etc.
Develop, Monitor and Evaluate and Celebrate
Try to make plans and work together on some objectives,
Monitor the evolution of the situation or skills,
Celebrate successes together