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Being a (Good) Mentor
The mentor-student relationship is one of the most important supports in a trainee’s life. If successful, it can continue into a productive and supportive collaboration that lasts throughout the mentee’s, and the mentor’s, career. Despite the foundational importance of good mentorship to trainees’ professional and personal development, it is rare for graduate or post-doctoral programs to include any education on how to be an effective mentor. As with parenting, we can model by example, however some discussion of basic principles is likely to enhance new mentors’ confidence in taking on this critical role. This presentation will highlight and discuss three main topics central to effective mentoring: 1. Cultivating a developmentally appropriate and flexible mentorship style. Discussion will include how to be sensitive to diversity in students’ strengths and challenges; 2. Providing the requisite structure to enable students to be productive. Discussion will include how to structure one’s own research program in one’s early career to maximize student success; and 3. Dealing effectively and empathically with interpersonal challenges and breakdowns in the mentor-student relationship.