NRMN is proud to announce the upcoming launch of “I Wish My Mentor Knew…,” an innovative online forum concept developed in collaboration with scientific society partner Keystone Symposia.
This virtual initiative stems from the work of Keystone Symposia’s Diversity in Life Science Programs (DSLP). Since November 2016, the DLSP has been involved in testing an “I Wish My Mentor Knew…” project initially launched as an in-person activity at the 2016 Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) (see Keystone Symposia November issue of INCLUDE for more details).
Adapted from an “I Wish My Teacher Knew…” concept, the “I Wish My Mentor Knew…” initiative asked conference attendees to respond to the prompt by writing an anonymous response on a sticky note and affixing this to a poster board display. Sticky notes were color-coordinated; respondents were prompted to select a specific color corresponding to their career stage, either Undergraduate Student, Graduate Student, Postdoctoral Researcher, or Faculty/Mentor.
The DLSP has taken the exhibit to several Keystone Symposia conferences locally near their central office in Silverthorne, Colorado (Keystone, Breckenridge) to provide trainees with an opportunity to share comments about their research and mentoring experiences.
Comments have been largely positive, affirming, and celebratory of relationships with mentors. However, a significant percentage of trainees have left remarks that indicate challenges with gender identity, race, and inclusion.
Since that time, Keystone Symposia has been working on a formal partnership with NRMN to create a virtual space to pair trainees’ comments with constructive feedback from peers and senior mentors, which will be hosted as comments board on the NRMN website starting in June 2017. This initiative aims to provide an opportunity for thoughts and challenges around mentoring to be discussed productively in a safe, anonymous space. All comments left on the webpage will remain anonymous, and will be subject to review and approval by administrators at NRMN and Keystone Symposia prior to being publishing to the comments board.
NRMN and Keystone Symposia have assembled a Mentor Review Panel of 22 experienced mentors from institutions around the country, who will provide helpful responses to comments on the “I Wish My Mentor Knew…” web page. Comments from members of the Panel will likewise remain anonymous; while NRMN and Keystone will release a list of the names of the Mentors on the Panel, individual responses to mentee comments on the webpage will not reveal the individual Mentor authoring any given comment.
Check back on NRMNet.net in June to discover and participate in this novel online forum, and follow NRMN on Twitter @NRMNet with #IWishMyMentorKnew for announcements and continued conversations around this exciting initiative.