This is just a quick post to let you know that there is now an Earth Sciences Mentor Match program available!
If you’re an undergrad in Earth Sciences who would like a more experienced person to help advise you through applying to grad school, and/or help you write an application for a graduate fellowship such as the NSF GRFP, then you can ask for a mentor! The program targets students who are in groups underrepresented in the Earth Sciences, and is open to all. Likewise, if you’re in the Earth Sciences and would like to volunteer to mentor, please sign up!
This program is designed to increase access and help make the playing field less inequitable to the BIPOC students who have been minoritized in these disciplines.
It looks like there will be a strong pool of mentors, so students are likely to get paired up with people who are a good fit, in terms of research interests, identity, and professional goals.
ES Mentor Match is operated by earth scientists Araceli Serrano and Christina Richardson. (They’ve developed the program to run the way that we’re running EEB Mentor Match, which I announced here a week ago).
Do you think it would be neato if we were able to ramp up the Mentor Match family of programs to more STEM disciplines? Are any of y’all game for running a Chemistry Mentor Match, or a Neurobiology Mentor Match, or a Physics/Astro Mentor Match, or whatnot? Having done this for several years now, I can reassure you that it’s not necessarily a mountain of work, though it does take a bit of regular attention in late Summer and early Fall. I think operating the program probably isn’t much more work than mentoring a couple students. You just got to have a bit of activation energy to get it started. And you can ask the EEB and ES mentor match folks for a bit of wisdom we’ve accumulated. It’s not a silver bullet, but I think the impact of the program can grow, especially by providing mentor training and support, and having some professional evaluation. Nonetheless, students have let us know that without the connections we’ve made for them, they would not have applied, or gotten funded, or gotten into grad school. We’ve got to start somewhere, after all.
*I’m not prepared to attempt to run a mentor match for all of STEM. I think we can better support students when the matches are being done within a field, by scientists who know the places/people/culture, and word can spread better within a field, too. Also, an all-of-STEM mentor match for grad school applications already exists (though not under that name) and they seem to be doing quite well, and rather than try to duplicate it, I suspect with field-specific approaches we might fill in some gaps.)