This is the announcement of EEB Mentor Match for 2019!
We are pairing up students applying for graduate school and graduate fellowships with more experienced academics who have been through the process. If you’re an undergraduate or recent graduate who feels that you could benefit from more support, this is for you!
It’s possible that you’re in a position where you don’t have access to all of the resources that you need to develop a strong application. Applying for fellowships and to grad school takes work and savvy! You want to be sure that your efforts are focused in the most productive directions.
If you’re a student who is preparing to go to grad school in ecology and evolutionary biology next year, and would like to request guidance from a mentor as you apply to programs and for fellowships, then please fill out this short form. (If you are a faculty member who knows a student who fits the above description, please fill out the form to suggest a student! We will contact the student to let them know that someone thinks they would be great for this program.)
If you’re a grad student, postdoc, faculty, or another flavor of EEB scientist who would like to volunteer to mentor these students, please fill out this short form. Mentors, if you signed up in previous years, please do sign up again! This form only indicates a one-off commitment for academic year 2019-2020.
This is the third year of EEB Mentor Match. We’ve had substantial success in the past two years. The motivation for this program is to lower the barrier of entry for students from institutions where rates of application for grad school and fellowships are lower. A lot of students don’t have wraparound support, with resources and cultural knowledge, that allow them to create competitive applications. We’re trying to even the playing field so that students who haven’t been handed many opportunities can get the access that they deserve.
If you’re a student applying to grad school and are looking for support, this is the form for you to fill out.
Fortunately, our wonderful EEB community has stepped up and we had a lot more mentors than students! Previously, we’ve restricted mentee requests to students with from underrepresented groups, but we expect enough bandwidth to provide mentors to all those who request one. So, this year, we’re excited to broaden the call and to invite all students to sign up for mentoring, regardless of their identity or institution where they are attending.
Note that this is focused on students who are interested in ecology & evolutionary biology (defined broadly, including programs in conservation biology, natural resources, and marine science), with an emphasis on programs in the US. Our hope is that, by keeping this more focused, we will be able to do a better job of matching mentors and mentees. If you’re not an EEB person but are interested in developing a similar resource in your own field, please do get in touch with me! We might be able to leverage resources or at the very least, I can provide some information that may be helpful.
We are seeking mentors who can provide feedback on graduate school and fellowship applications! We are looking for graduate students, postdocs, research scientists, faculty, and others with experience with the graduate school application process and/or NSF’s GRFP and/or Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowships who are interested in working with students from underrepresented groups.
Please keep in mind that imposter syndrome is real and that your mentee may be really unsure about whether they are “good enough” to go to graduate school or to be considered for a prestigious fellowship. Make sure you give your mentee plenty of encouragement, and make sure all criticism is worded constructively.
If you’re interested in being a mentor, this is the form you should fill out.
A note on timing: The deadline for NSF Graduate Fellowships is 21 October 2019, and the deadline for the Ford Fellowship is 17 December 2019. Applications for grad school tend to be due in December or January. In Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, now is the precise time you should be reaching out to faculty you’d like to work with to be able to apply in late fall semester! If you feel that connecting with someone to give you feedback, guidance, and moral support along the way would be useful, then please do sign up!
Because of that timeline, we strongly encourage mentees and mentors to sign up by September 15th, to leave time for matching (on a rolling basis) and to work on applications. If it’s after September 15th and you’re interested, go ahead and sign up and we’ll try to do our best.
Disclaimers: This program is being run independently by Terry McGlynn (California State University Dominguez Hills) and Samniqueka Halsey (University of Missouri). We are not affiliated with the National Science Foundation or Ford Foundation. We just think it would be great if students get the help they deserve! We’ve complained about this in the past, and we’re putting our money (or, more accurately, time) where our mouths are. We hope to get lots of volunteers who are willing to serve as mentors, but this will likely mean that we won’t personally know all the mentors who are involved. Students: if you are not comfortable with the interactions you are having with your mentor, please let us know right away. Our email addresses: Terry McGlynn (email@example.com) and Samniqueka Halsey (University of Missouri). Keep in mind that the mentors are volunteering their time.
For additional context about the history of EEB Mentor Match, here’s a post about the program on Dynamic Ecology from 2018, and one from Small Pond Science in 2017. This program was the brainchild of Meghan Duffy, and I helped her run it for the first two years, and she’s handed over the reins this year to myself and Dr. Halsey. We hope to grow the program in its scope and effectiveness, and if you happen to be someone with pursestrings, please contact me about how you can sponsor Mentor Match to increase the impact of this program.