Sign up now for EEB Mentor Match 2020

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Not everything about 2020 is horrible: We’re running EEB Mentor Match again! More than ever this year, undergraduates from under-resourced institutions need guidance to help them into graduate school. Undergraduates in minoritized groups can use a boost from those of us who have cracked the code to get into grad school and get funded.

We are pairing up students seeking support for fellowship and grad school applications with more experienced scientists who have agreed to give support and advice throughout the process. If you’re looking for a mentor, or you’d like to volunteer to be a mentor, please sign up!

The website is eebmentormatch.com. The EEB stands for Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. If you’re in this or related fields (wildlife biology, conservation, entomology, botany, etc.), then this is for you.

You might be familiar with my history of advocating for more equitable funding outcomes in NSF’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program. One critical element in fixing this problem is making the playing surface less tilted against students from under-resourced institutions. It’s hard for many students to be aware of, and develop competitive applications for, NSF Graduate Fellowships. I want NSF to be deluged with applications from talented students in regional state universities, from low-income students, and from students of color. We can help these students out by volunteering our time to support a student in writing their application. Please sign up!

If you were funded by a GRFP and want to see a more inclusive pool of awardees, please sign up! A lot of our mentors are PhD students and postdocs, some have moved on to other things, and some are faculty members. If you think you’re well positioned to guide a student through the process of applying to graduate programs and for fellowships, then we’d like to have you in our pool of mentors.

The middle of summer is the right time to start to build a strong application for an NSF fellowship, which has deadlines in October. It’s also just the right time to start planning to apply to grad school in the late Fall. This means that we need to get the word out to talented students who don’t know about these opportunities, and those who underestimate their competitiveness. If you know students who might not apply but can benefit from doing so, please get the word out!

This is the image on the home page of EEB Mentor Match. It’s a Hen and Chicken Fern from Ulva Island in New Zealand, and it shows young ferns growing on the leaves of the plant that produced it. I thought it was a nice metaphor and a pretty picture. (photo credit: T. McGlynn)

This year, I’m operating EEB Mentor Match with Dr. Samniqueka Halsey, and we’ve professionalized EEB Mentor Match this year some more by giving it its own website. If you’d like to sign up to be a mentor or a mentee, we have a web form for you that will take just one minute to fill out!

If you’re sharing this on social media, the hashtag is #eebMentorMatch.

For more on the history of EEB Mentor Match, and a longer explanation about why we think this is a necessary resource, here are my posts about this from 2017, 2018, and 2019. Also, here are some Dynamic Ecology posts about this from when Meg Duffy was involved, back in 2017 and 2018. I’d also like to give props to Denise Colombano and and Kristen Snyder, who independently collected information for a bunch of mentors and mentees and decided to put their pool of people into our pool.

EEB Mentor Match has grown every year, and we hope to reach more students than ever. Please let colleagues who are working in under-resourced institutions, and those who are teaching large populations of students in minoritized groups, know that EEB Mentor Match exists so that their students can gain the support they need to launch successfully into grad school.

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