GS and EAG Virtual Mentoring Program
Geochemists, depending on their location, may have limited access to the resources, opportunities, or expertise necessary to fulfill their professional goals.
This program aims to connect these professionals with mentors across the globe who can assist, guide, and provide insights to aid in achieving these goals.
For a start, the program will focus on three activities and will be dedicated to geochemists from low-income or lower middle-income countries as defined by the World Bank.
In the future, depending on the success of the program and on the number of mentors volunteering, we hope that the program will expand.
Three areas of initial focus for mentoring efforts have been chosen:
1. Assistance with graduate school, internship and fellowship applications
Mentees: PhD or master students and early career scientists from low-income or lower middle-income countries that want to apply
- for graduate school outside of their own country;
- for international postdoctoral positions and/or fellowships (e.g., Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Fellowships in Germany; Marie Curie scholarships of the European Union, Fullbright in the USA, etc.) in preparation of competitive applications.
Mentors: Post docs or researchers who have experience with the system of the target program/country assist applicants.
Example of activities may include guiding applicants through the process of identifying where they want to apply, and helping with the writing of letters and other modules of an application package (e.g., statements of research and teaching). Further, where relevant (e.g., for personal contacts) the mentor might introduce the candidate to the relevant faculty through a dedicated GS email address to establish authenticity.
2. Laboratory development and capacity building at targeted institutions.
Mentees: students/scientists or lab managers from low-income or lower middle-income countries who need help with learning how to use and maintain a piece of equipment.
Mentors: experienced lab managers, technicians, or researchers who are willing to help, with the purpose of providing online technical assistance. This could then evolve to actual physical visits to labs in some cases, funded by the capacity building grant and other related funds.
3. Connecting collaborators to execute specific projects
Mentees: students or scientists with a project with a need for external collaboration for progress (e.g., expertise, access to analytical equipment).
Mentors: scientists willing to aid in organization, planning, connecting project leads/PIs with the collaborators and resources needed for specific projects. Typically, the mentor herself / himself would not be the collaborator.
How to participate
Mentors: To apply, please complete the mentor application form. Note that mentors will not serve as collaborators but will guide the mentee through the literature and/or networks to find the answer or resources mentees are looking for. This would ensure that the mentor has no vested interest. Geochemical Society or European Association of Geochemistry membership is not required to serve, however all mentors must agree to abide by the GS code of ethics.
Mentees: The program is initially focused on students and scientists of low-income and lower middle-income countries as defined by the World Bank. To apply please fill in this online form. You will be asked to explain your needs in the motivation statement of your request for mentoring. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions regarding your eligibility for this program. Geochemical Society or European Association of Geochemistry membership is not required to participate. However, the society offers free membership for students in qualifying countries for those who are interested. Mentees must agree to abide by the GS code of ethics.
Mentor and mentee pairing: This will be done by the moderator of each area of the program. Whenever possible, groups will be constituted to foster mutual learning and networking. If no mentors can be found at first, the application will be placed on a waiting list.
Mentors will never answer directly to a request for mentoring. The initial introduction will be done by the program and a track would be kept of all active mentor-mentee pairs.
How to meet and define the boundaries of the mentorship: During the first meeting the pair will use this online initial questionnaire in order to set their own expectations and boundaries. Number of meetings, frequency and duration (for example 3 meetings of one hour over 3 month) and mode of functioning (video, phone, emails...) will be defined accordingly.
Mentor and mentee forums: Two platforms, one for mentees and one for mentors, will be set up using the social media platform slack in order to exchange on questions, experiences, knowledge, opportunities, or issues with the mentoring. An open zoom meeting will be organized once a month by the moderators for those who would prefer to talk rather than write.
How to end a mentoring arrangement
The mentoring formally ends when it has reached its objectives, when it is turning into a collaboration, or when it is not fulfilling its goal. As greatest benefits can be reached when mentees and mentors feel at ease, if anyone does not feel comfortable moving forward with the mentoring, they are welcome to withdraw. Upon completion of the program, participants will be asked to submit feedback about their experience via an online survey. This will help us to keep track of how the program is functioning and to make improvements.