August 31, 2016

Mentors wanted for AGU Sharing Science Mentoring Program

Posted by Laura Guertin

Application deadline (for mentors and graduate students): September 23, 2016. See AGU website for details.


“As a grad student, I was incredibly interested in scicomm but had no real guidance. The Sharing Science Mentoring Program would’ve helped shape my interests while providing the support I certainly could’ve used.”  —  Shane Hanlon, co-host of AGU’s 2015 Sharing Science Mentoring Meet-Up

Are you an established scientist who feels passionate about outreach and want to support beginning scientists in exploring how to be involved in communication as well as outreach? Then this program is for you!

From high school to college through graduate school, and even during our faculty/professional life, we have all sought out and received mentoring from those that have a little to much more experience in a given discipline or skill. We all know the value of mentoring and how it has shaped each of our personal lives and professional careers. I’ve written several blog posts about mentoring, and I am always looking for opportunities to “pay it forward” as a tribute to all of the excellent mentors I have had (and still have!) throughout my career. AGU has designed a unique mentoring program that goes beyond mentoring graduate students on life as an academic/scientist. This program helps graduate students with an increasingly important piece of our professional lives – why we should want to and need to communicate science beyond our own geoscience audiences.

Here is some of the history of AGU’s Sharing Science Mentoring Program, provided by Program Manager Olivia Ambrogio:

Sharing-Science-logo_embed_web“AGU’s Sharing Science program, which supports scientists in communicating their research to broad audiences, engages with everyone from undergraduate students to professors emeriti, but a large and enthusiastic portion of our event/workshop participants are graduate students. One of the most common concerns we hear from these students is that they feel that have no one to turn to for support or advice on how to be a scientist doing outreach. Often even when their advisors are supportive of their desire to communicate their science to the public, they don’t have experience in doing so themselves and so can’t provide direct guidance or serve as scientist-communicator role models. We know how valuable science mentors are, and we believe that outreach mentors can be just as valuable in giving beginning scientists both the direction and encouragement they need to share their science.”

If you think your AGU Fall Meeting is already too busy with sessions and meetings all week, please stop and consider how just one conversation can benefit a student. Olivia states “It’s a minimal commitment–just one meeting with your mentee during Fall Meeting–but it can make a big difference for a graduate student who doesn’t see an opportunity to do research *and* outreach.”

IMG_3832I was a Sharing Science mentor at the AGU Fall Meeting in 2015, and it was a wonderful experience (see blog post Dr. G’s #AGU15 Spotlight – Mentoring at the Fall Meeting). My mentee Esther Posner (in photo on left) and I had a great conversation during the official mentoring session and continued to connect throughout the Fall Meeting.

Without hesitation, I signed up again to participate this year. Please consider doing the same to help the next generation of scientists understand how and why we need to “get the word out” to the broadest possible audience about why Earth and space science matters.