Anh Do facilitates speed mentoring for graduate students
The definition of mentoring in itself is fairly simple: “to advise or train someone.” However, behind the simplicity of the definition lies an ambiguous process. Mentoring can take on various forms and approaches, ranging from teaching someone how to conduct a particular task to managing work/life balance. Mentors can be our teachers, our parents or relatives, or even good friends or colleagues. And since mentoring can be as simple as providing or receiving emotional support in times of need, sometimes people can be mentors or mentees without even realizing it. Given the complex challenges encountered during graduate and post-doctoral training, finding quality mentors with expertise in the necessary areas can be challenging. To address this issue, our team organized a Speed Mentoring Event to facilitate these crucial connections.
During the spring semester of 2018, our team participated in the Emerging Leaders Institute (ELI), sponsored by The Graduate School and the Office of Postdoctoral Services. Before the start of the program, each of the ELI participants conducted interviews with five Duke stakeholders about the campus environment for graduate students and postdocs at Duke. For example, we asked the stakeholders to identify an issue or matter of wide concern to graduate students and postdocs at Duke. We also asked them what was working well and what issue(s) they thought should be addressed. The stakeholders identified a plethora of concerns. Graduate students commented in interviews, “I don’t know what is expected of me,” and asked, “How do I communicate with my professors and classmates?” Faculty and staff often mentioned a need to develop a work/life balance and stress management for graduate students and postdocs, while postdocs expressed concern about networking and job opportunities.