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Attributes of a good mentor

What Does a Mentor Do?

Every  scientist who wins an AWARD Fellowship is matched with a mentor—a senior professional—who volunteers for one year to guide the AWARD Fellow in her career development.

Mentoring in AWARD is specifically designed to help AWARD Fellows to become more technically competent, more confident, more visible, and better networked, as they build their research and leadership skills.
Mentoring is more than a one-way relationship of a fellow supported by a more experienced mentor. A fellow also brings ideas and concepts to the table. The hope is that the mentoring pair will build a mutually supportive way of working together.

The overall goal is for mentors to share their experience, scientific knowledge, and networks with their fellows, providing the kind of nurturing support that will allow them to grow both within their field and institutions. They are encouraged to build their careers within agricultural research and development (ARD) while building strong leadership for the future.

We cannot predict everything that happens with a mentoring pair. Each mentoring relationship is a unique learning experience. Through it all, mentoring pairs have the benefit of support from the AWARD team, including the AWARD Mentoring Coordinator.

Atrtributes of a Good Mentor

The role of a mentor is multi-faceted, and may change or evolve according to the needs of the fellows.  AWARD continuously receives feedback from current and past fellows. They describe the attributes of a good mentor as follows:

  • concerned with the fellow’s career aspirations and needs (growth in leadership skills, knowledge, self-confidence, independence, and autonomy)
  • assertive and well organized
  • an achiever, trustworthy listener, and goal setter
  • reliable, inspirational, empathetic, introspective, and receptive
  • open and honest
  • motivated and committed
  • professional and approachable
  • share knowledge and professional experiences
  • provide supportive sources of encouragement, especially in furthering the aims of female scientists
  • provide guidance, advice, and constructive criticism
  • act as an advisor with a broad scope of guidance
  • genuinely interested in the fellow’s questions and concerns
  • create opportunities for the fellow, open professional doors, and share contacts
  • partner with the fellow on scientific work and publications
  • identify resources
  • provide exposure and visibility within an organization
  • advise on networking and networking opportunities
  • respect confidentiality
  • review fellow’s CV
  • provide job interview tips