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A Pilot CASSS – University Mentoring Partnership Program

Tuesday, September 4, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Renee Olson
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A Pilot CASSS – University Mentoring Partnership Program

 

A pilot mentoring program was initiated this past spring between CASSS and The Johns Hopkins University (JHU) Professional Development and Career Office. CASSS members possess a wealth of expertise and insight into the biotechnology and biopharmaceutical industries, government regulation, and public policy. This program matched JHU graduate students and post-doctoral researchers with CASSS volunteers who can help these trainees find the paths beyond academia that will lead them to fulfilling professional careers. The recruitment of potential mentors from the CASSS Associate Directors was guided by our Academic Committee. The JHU Professional Development and Career Office solicited and then invited eligible students to join the program. Mentors and students were paired in a stepwise process. CASSS volunteers first posted a summary of their interests and expertise on a private website. Students reviewed the postings and arranged telephone or video discussions with the selected CASSS members. Lastly, students approached the CASSS member(s) who they felt would be their most suitable mentors. The time commitment required of mentors is modest. Typically, a series one-hour conversations take place over the course of several months.

 

The initial surveys distributed by the JHU Career Office to assess the strengths and weaknesses of this pilot program show that the mutually agreed to partnerships have benefited the mentors as well as the mentees. The students have commented on the enthusiasm, insight, and perspective offered by their mentors. Mentors have commented on the engagement of the participating students, appreciating the opportunity to better understand the younger generation of scientists, and the rewards of providing positive and helpful feedback. One mentor wrote in response to the initial evaluation “The students were very passionate about the program, were all well prepared for the initial conversation and all behaved very professionally. I was extremely pleased with the process and the professionalism they demonstrated.”

 

We are using the feedback from the participating students and their mentors to refine the next iteration of the CASSS – JHU mentoring partnership planned for this autumn. Important to the students is the diversity of expertise and employment levels represented by the CASSS community. As we plan the program as well as new programs on both sides of the Atlantic ocean, we hope that additional CASSS members will be interested in being a part of this evolving, expanding, and rewarding program.

 

Look for an announcement in October for the second round of the CASSS – JHU mentoring partnership.


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