Mentors play critical roles in the success and trajectory of STEM careers. Important resources for students and early-career scientists, mentors offer advice, share their experiences, and act as role models. Often faced with gender bias and internalized sexism – exaggerated doubts about their intelligence – women in STEM particularly benefit from mentors. The mentoring process helps deconstruct the idea that successful STEM careers are unachievable.
Mentoring can be formal or informal, professional or personal, one-on-one or in groups. You can (and should) have more than one mentor: It is smart to find industry and academic mentors. This list highlights some places to look for mentors:
1. Your own university
Many colleges and universities have mentoring programs
already set up. Even if yours doesn’t, professors and graduate students make
excellent mentors. Consider searching your alumni network for mentors as well;
many alumni are eager to help students.
An online mentoring network for
women and underrepresented minorities in science. In a recent survey, they
found that many protégés were hired by their mentor’s company, and mentors
claimed the experience helped them to become better leaders.
3. The Association for Women
in Science (AWIS)
Local mentoring programs for women scientists in
Massachusetts, Palo Alto, and Seattle.
Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM)
A mentor network for women and girls of all ages who are
interested in mathematics. Mentors are located at colleges and universities
throughout the country.
5. The Anita Borg Institute For
Women and Technology’s Systers
An online interactive forum for
women in technology to seek advice and discuss career development. Open to
women of all ages and stages in their careers.
6. The National
Institute for Women in Trades, Technology & Science (IWITTS)
An e-Mentoring service for senior and entry-level
technicians and scientists.
Many organizations have mentoring
programs for members.
Resources for successful mentoring:
The American Association of University Women (AAUW) features a comprehensive list of resources for women in STEM, including mentoring programs.
The National Center for
Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) has a free mentoring-in-a-box
program that helps mentoring pairs build successful relationships.
for Women in Science publishes a mentoring handbook titled Getting the Most
out of Your Mentoring Relationships: A Handbook for Women in STEM.
The Gender Equity Collaborative
offers a step-by-step list of how to build and market a mentoring program.
Have you had great experiences
with mentors? What are some challenges you faced trying to find a good mentor
for you? Do you know other ways to find mentors?