NRMN Newsletter – March 2018
Mentor of the Month: Karen Martinez
How did you get involved with NRMN?
One of my collaborators at the University of Puerto Rico, Dr. Adriana Baez, had been talking to me about her work with NRMN. She invited me to participate in the southeast training hub that took place in November 2016. From there, I decided to sign up for NRMN and have been trying out the website and its resources.
Describe your role in mentoring and tell us a little about your experience in that role.
I am an active mentor to undergraduate, graduate, medical, and postdoctoral students here at the University of Puerto Rico. The trainings have been useful to improve my mentoring skills. I also had the chance to connect with an undergraduate student through the NRMN website. I have enjoyed the experiences of mentoring a student from a different institution and have been able to provide some modeling on how to be a Latino physician-scientist.
Have you participated in similar programs in the past? If so, how was your experience with NRMN different or unique?
I am the director and principal investigator of the Hispanic Clinical and Translational Research Education and Career Development Program and we have several activities focused on mentoring. NRMN has been different given the online platform and the possibility of creating an online mentoring community.
If someone called you and asked, “Why should I become involved with NRMN,” how would you respond?
I think that the most important reason to be involved with NRMN is to be able to reach possible mentees outside of your institution. As a Latino woman working in a minority serving institution, I had the experience of having many role models in my career development. But I understand how difficult it can be to be in an institution where no one has your same background. At the same time, as a mentee, it was difficult for me to establish relationships with established mentors. NRMN created an environment where you can easily reach a diverse pool of mentors.
How has your experience with NRMN changed the way you approach your career in the sciences?
NRMN has made me think about the quantity and types of mentors that are necessary to develop a research career. It is important to have enough diversity and variety of perspectives to be able to receive the adequate guidance.
Describe a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career.
My most significant accomplishment has been the establishment of the Center for the Study and Treatment of Fear and Anxiety. This clinical research center has been able to train all types of students on clinical translational research in anxiety and at the same time has an extensive role in community education and outreach to improve access to quality mental health services.
What makes you an ideal mentor?
My most important quality as a mentor is that I try to discover where my mentees want to go and not where I think they should go. Every person’s path toward their career goals is very individual and I understand my role is to guide and not to make decisions for my students.
Each morning, what do you look most forward to in the day?
An interaction where I have been able to use my knowledge and experience to improve the life of others- be it with a patient, a student, a colleague, or my family.
Is there anything you’d like to share about yourself with a potential future mentee?
My research career path has not been lineal. I had times in my life where my clinical responsibilities required more time and attention than research and others where my family life required more than work. I might not have achieved all the goals as quickly as I wanted, but eventually, I got to where I wanted to be.
What is your current position and what is your favorite aspect of it?
I have several positions- I am a child and adolescent psychiatrist and have an active clinical practice. I am an assistant professor at the Department of Psychiatry and teach medical students, residents, and fellows. I am also the director of the Center for the Study and Treatment of Fear and Anxiety and the PI/director of the Hispanic Clinical and Translational Research Education and Career Development Program.
My favorite aspect is that I have the opportunity to contribute in very diverse areas which keeps me very busy but also engaged with my overall goals and plans.
Anything else that you would like to share?
Involvement in research does not have to end in obtaining millions of dollars in research grants. The contribution that you can do as a researcher can be as a collaborator, communicator, educator, or being a better health professional.
If you would like to be recognized as a MyMentor Mentor of the Month or would like to nominate someone to be recognized, please use the Contact Administrator link within MyMentor to send a message to Katie Stinson.