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Post Archive
2020 (0)2011 (1)
January (1)

A new start in 2011.
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
2010 (32)
December (6)

Happy Festivus!!
Thursday, December 23, 2010

Wimminz in Academia Answers!!
Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The chalk talk
Saturday, December 11, 2010

cute? or THE CUTEST?
Friday, December 10, 2010

10 mo in the life of Gerty-Z (The one-year meme)
Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Today I had to fire someone
Thursday, December 2, 2010
November (6)

The joy of the interview
Monday, November 29, 2010

Are you writing an tenure-track job application?
Monday, November 22, 2010

Women in Academia Q&A
Wednesday, November 17, 2010

muddling in mentoring
Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Lost in translation?
Saturday, November 6, 2010

If you were an incoming graduate student, how would you choose where to rotate?
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
October (6)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

How NOT to work in my lab
Monday, October 25, 2010

Out on the job market
Friday, October 15, 2010

Make it rain!
Sunday, October 10, 2010

If I wasn't doing this...
Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I *heart* conferences!
Monday, October 4, 2010
September (6)

Should you pay undergrads that work in your lab?
Sunday, September 26, 2010

The scientist-in-training
Sunday, September 19, 2010

It's not a pissing contest
Monday, September 13, 2010

What I wish I knew...
Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Beery Bladder-not necessarily from a Beery Friday
Friday, September 3, 2010

Ambition, in the world of grant-writing
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
August (8)

A quick note.
Thursday, August 26, 2010

Moving on up...
Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sunday afternoon panic attack
Sunday, August 22, 2010

Advice for the new grad student
Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The purpose of the K99/R00
Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Am I ruining your marriage?
Friday, August 13, 2010

All about ME!
Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Wednesday, August 11, 2010
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I am starting my lab as an Assistant Professor at a Big Research University (summer 2010). I have a super partner and an adorable kiddo, Mini-G. I tend to rush into things and then figure them out as I muddle along. I'm sure that will be true here, too. I hope to use this space to maintain my sanity and share my perspectives on science and academia. These perspectives may sometimes qualify as rants. There will undoubtedly be some crazy times on the tenure track. Gmail me [at] primaryinvestigator

My posts are presented as opinion and commentary and do not represent the views of LabSpaces Productions, LLC, my employer, or my educational institution.

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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I have been thinking a lot about what makes a good mentor recently. Being in my new position, I am in the process of developing a whole new set of mentors. But more importantly, now that I have my own lab peeps I want to be a good mentor. It turns out, much like parenthood, you are not required  to show any aptitude for mentoring before you can have mentees.

I can't claim to have a "mentoring style", anymore than I have any other kind of style.

favorite non-running shoe

Instead, I am trying to make my lab the kind of place I would have wanted to be as a student or postdoc:
-I give students room to fail, but not so much space they feel abandoned.
-I encourage my students to be curious and excited, but focused.
-I expect folks in my lab to both give and receive constructive criticism.

These are based loosely on experiences that I have had as a mentee (both good and bad). More accurately, they are based on what I remember from those times. It has become pretty apparent to me recently that I do not actually remember what it is like to be a first-year grad student.

In the end, I think the best advice that I give my mentees is not to rely on me too much. I have never had one good mentor-because I always had more folks that I could talk to for different perspectives. If you need advice, get as much of it as you can. Then decide what sounds best for you, in your situation. So I encourage the students (and postdocs) that I talk to to develop as many mentoring relationships as they can. And then take advantage of these. You can only ever get as much out of the relationship as you put in.

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Dr Becca, Ph.D.
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Just noticed your preview image for this post--hilarious!!

It sounds like your head is in the right place, here. Especially good advice to encourage students to seek out multiple mentors, not just their PI. More relationships, more perspective, etc, always a good thing. Apparently I can't write full sentences anymore. It's Yoda's influence!

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The caption was supposed to read: mentor, will I



Guest Comment

I noticed that good mentors will vary their approach when directing different people. E.g. giving me a reasonable deadline works for me ( i call it a small kick in the b***), but polite persuasion is what keeps a fragile /sensitive colleague going. I really admire people who are good judges of character and can pull this off. Nice post- regardless of how you do it, you seem to care about your people- and that's mot important of all.

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