By Ben Andrews-Zapata
Mentoring is an important part of STEMM education and research training, with benefits for both the mentor and mentee. To help celebrate, mentors from the Coordination and Evaluation Center (CEC) at UCLA shared what they love most about being a mentor, what they learned from mentees and why mentorship is important.
Teresa Seeman, PhD, Co-Principal Investigator, CEC at UCLA
“I am always thrilled to see how mentees grow in their own career paths – wonderful to see their research interests develop and become actual projects. I mostly work with research mentees.”
“I have learned so many different things over time – some related to research topics that I didn’t know anything about (fascinating), as well as about cultures that are represented by mentees that differ from my experience. This keeps life interesting; meeting and getting to know new mentees from a wide array of different backgrounds and interests.”
Sylvia Hurtado, PhD, Co-Lead of the Evaluation Core, CEC AT UCLA
“It is how careers are made, through mentorship. I love the energy and fresh perspective that mentees bring to research and ideas. I learn a lot about technology innovations and new literature from mentees. It is a great exchange and collaboration.”
Cynthia Joseph, EdD, Core Director, CEC at UCLA
“Having a mentor allows you to ask questions without feeling you should know the answer already.”
To celebrate Thank Your Mentor day, scholars from BUILD sites across the consortium shared thank you notes with shout outs to mentors who have made an impact in their research journey.
Read some messages below from mentees who posted on social media using #ThankYourMentor. To see more thank you notes from BUILD students, read the National Mentoring Month blog on LinkedIn.
Project Pathways at Xavier University of Louisiana, New Orleans, LA
"To my mentor Dr. Chaney: Thank you for being more than a lab PI, but a true mentor. You’re the only one at the university who checks on my emotional health, as well as provide advice regarding academics. I truly appreciate you!" - Justice
"To my mentor Dr. Goyal: Thank you for all the time, effort and guidance you have provided me during my time as both your student and research mentee. I know your impact on my journey will help me, even after my time at Xavier." - Anthony
BUILD EXITO at Portland State University, Portland, OR
"Thank you Dr. Blaire G. Darney (RLC Mentor) for being the most amazing mentor and going above and beyond for all of our team! Since day one she has always been so kind, patient, encouraging, supportive, thoughtful, and I could go on and on about how amazing my mentor is. Dr. Darney goes beyond just being a research mentor but is consistently involved with my research, my progress, and myself. From the bottom of my heart, I appreciate Dr. Darney." - Grace Parra, Cohort 1 URISE Scholar
"To my mentor Olyssa Starry, PhD (RLC Mentor): Thank you for allowing me to grow as a natural scientist and branch out my interests. Your kindness and flexibility has helped me become more confident in myself and the work I do." - Michelle Hesek, Cohort 7 Scholar
BLaST at University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK
"Thank you to my mentor Dee! Dee Barker from APU pushed me to pursue my research project. She directed me to BLaST. She is genuine, patient, inspiring and motivates me every day as a woman in science." - Jasmine Perea BLaST AY23 URE Alaska Pacific University
"Thank you to my mentor Hannah! Hannah Robinson has been like a best friend and has made my time in BLaST this year so much fun. I am so thankful for her and cannot wait to keep learning what I can from her!" - Julie Anne-Brown BLaST AY23 Scholar, University of Fairbanks
SF BUILD at San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA
“My experience with my mentor [Dr. Tiffany Kim] has been great. I’ve been able to expand my knowledge on research and understand that the skills that I already have can be further enhanced in this new environment. I have been able to learn a lot from my mentor and she has been an asset in my ability to foster my critical thinking as well as analytical skills. She has also been helpful in showing me that there are various career opportunities that I can pursue in the future.” - Krisha Fernandez, Cohort 8 Scholar
“My experience with Kala [Mehta] has been great. She constantly shows that she cares about my future and how I feel not only as a student but as a human being. I really appreciate here for all that she has done.” -A’lexus Taylor, Cohort 8 Scholar
CSULB BUILD at California State University, Long Beach, CA
“Thank You to My Mentor Dr. Karissa Miller for all the help and guidance you have given me. You are truly the best. I have learned a lot from you. Thanks for ‘adopting’ me as a mentee and being a support system for me.” -Annie Tong, CSULB BUILD Fellow
“Thank You to My Mentor Dr. Courtney Ahrens for your guidance and patience. You have given me opportunities and unwavering support, which has helped me grow tremendously as a student and researcher. I appreciate you so much. Thank you for everything!” -Diana Than, CSULB BUILD Year 2 Scholar
BUILD PODER at California State University, Northridge, CA
“My mentor, Dr. Toledo-Corral, has been inspirational to many young Latino/a scientists. She has been a great support during difficult times and has helped me stay on track to making progress toward my future goals. She has made our lab feel like a home away from home which means a lot to me personally because my family is very far from me.”- Renee Medina, BUILD PODER Scholar
“My mentor is Dr. Cristian Ruiz and he has an antibiotic research lab at CSUN. Dr. Ruiz is a great mentor and person; he checks in with everyone in the lab and helps us with any questions we have. The environment Dr. Ruiz created in the lab makes research exciting and fun! I enjoy having conversations with my mentor as it gives us the chance to know one another better. I look forward to seeing the work we’ll accomplish together! ” -Pablo Segundo, BUILD PODER Scholar.
SPAD & DPC DaTA
The Diversity Program Consortium Coordination and Evaluation Center at UCLA is supported by Office of the Director of the National Institutes of Health / National Institutes of General Medical Sciences under award number U54GM119024.