Last spring I was selected for participation in the mentorship program for young researchers at the Faculty of Science and Technology. As far as I understand, this program is aimed at helping us progress through the university system by informing us about the paths and pitfalls in academia, and specifically at Uppsala University. Through the program we are paired with a mentor, who is often a professor at the university, and we attend seminars on topics we should be familiar with to successfully get on the tenure tracks.
Although we had an introductory meeting for the mentees before the summer break, the program really took off today, as we met our mentors and participated in a lecture on mentorship. It was really interesting to get a better definition of what mentorship is, and what’s expected from both the mentor and the mentee.
Throughout this program I expect to learn more about the formal parts of senior academic positions and career paths, but also to form networks with my fellow mentee peers, who are in the same or similar stage as me, career-wise. Finally, I have high expectations of my mentor. Similar to how a PhD supervisor can guide a PhD student through the initial stages of becoming a researcher, I think that a good mentor can bring out the potential for advancement in careers, by pointing out possible pitfalls, recommending paths, and connecting the mentee with people who can support both in the present and future – regardless of the direction and goals the mentee wishes to move towards.