mentoring

Dr. Mitch Anstey (he/him/his) is an assistant professor at Davidson College (Davidson, NC) in the Department of Chemistry. Davidson College is a primarily undergraduate college with a student body of roughly 2000. As with many institutions concerned with student and staff safety, Davidson College enacted a blanket policy in early April prohibiting student research on campus for the upcoming summer. Connect with Dr. Anstey on Twitter @theyneedacraned or through email mianstey@davidson.edu

For me, being able to say yes to mentoring undergrads in remote research projects this summer was not easy.

I am a parent of three children below the age of five. I am also a college professor teaching a full course load. Even when school and childcare line up perfectly, I still feel like I’m working two full-time jobs. But school and daycare closures and a fear of COVID exposure from childcare providers mean that my spouse and I are now the only support our children have.

15
Apr

Mentoring Matters with Dr. Brian Cohen

Dr. Cohen and some members of his lab group celebrate on graduation day

—from the Guest Mentor's Desk

Dr. Brian Cohen is a Senior Lecturer in Biological Sciences and Co-Director of Biochemistry at Union College in Schenectady, NY. In his 16 years as a faculty member thus far he has mentored 86 senior thesis students. Connect with him on Twitter @profbdcohen.

Q1: Why is mentoring undergrads in research important to you?

Because I didn't have that mentor as an undergraduate. By the time I expressed an interest in pursuing a career in research, I had missed out on opportunities to get involved.

—from the Lab Manager's bench and the PI's desk

We know that mentoring is challenging, surprising, rewarding, & so much more. On Twitter, we often use #ProudMentor or #ProudPI to retweet when a mentor tags us in a tweets about the undergrad members of their research team.

If you want to share a few words on why you mentor, the impact it's made on you, or other thoughts were listening. And we’d like to share it with others, too.

Our goals for creating the Mentoring Matters series are straightforward.

1. We want to show undergrad researchers that mentors are "real people" and not wholly mysterious creatures.

—from the Researcher’s bench

The big motivation killers get top billing--and for good reason. If a labmate has created a toxic working environment, your PI is unsupportive, you're struggling to manage a disability (invisible or obvious), your mental and physical health are all put at risk. These are all serious issues and it's critical that you find support in navigating through them.

However, it's also important to recognize that there are issues or work habits that can destroy your motivation but they do so in such a subtle way that you might not be aware of what's happening until you're burning out. Many of these don't seem serious and it's easy to think "Oh, I'm just being sensitive. I shouldn't complain because others have real problems."

But a motivation barrier--even a small one--doesn't take much to grow into a much larger issue. It's dealing with these sneaky motivation killers that are the subject of this article.

Güray Hatipoğlu

In this guest post Güray Hatipoğlu shares how his undergrad research experiences helped him find his current career path even though it wasn't an easy journey.

Starting out

In the beginning, as a first-year chemistry student, I didn’t t know all the differences among organic, inorganic, and analytical chemistry, or have a solid interest in any branch. So, I randomly chose to specialize in organic chemistry and found a faculty member who invited me to join their lab for one half-day a week.

— from the Lab Manager's bench

For some undergrads, this summer will be spent lounging on the beach reading and hanging out with friends. Days will be spent blissfully sleeping until a parent annoyingly insists that it’s time to get up and do something.

But alas that’s not for you.

If you’ve decided to make the most of your summer by participating in a full-time research experience, you’re about to embark on a new, challenging adventure, and it won’t include much time for lounging. Below are 10 things that will be part of the experience.

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