27 March 2019

Science communication needs mentorship. You can help.

Posted by Shane Hanlon

By Shane M Hanlon

As a grad student, I knew that I wanted to do communication and outreach work outside of academia. Unfortunately, I had no idea where to start. I had created a research plan from scratch, executed multiple experiments, and was in the process of writing my thesis; however, the idea of “outreach” scared the crap out of me. At least with that other stuff there was a road map from my adviser, colleagues, and committee members. But with outreach, I had no map, no examples, no mentor. When I made the transition from researchers to scicommer and practitioner, I vowed to help as many people as a I could navigate scicomm and outreach. However, there’s only so much that me, a single person, can do. Thankfully, there’s Mentoring365.

Mentoring365 began in September 2017 as an initiative of AGU on a (clunky) platform with the goal of connecting mentors and mentees who share similar professional interests. Last year the platform migrated to a new platform with new collaborators to its current iteration. Mentors and mentees enter information on background, interests, expertise, and more, and are then matched based on the skills they are interested in developing. We in Sharing Science hope that those interests involve scicomm and outreach.

Today we are launching a partnership (unofficially – we’re all a part of AGU) with Mentoring365 to help those interested in scicomm, policy, and outreach, to be matched with mentors/mentees who are interested in similar non-research related areas of science. We advise folks signing up to select (based on your interests):

  • Technical Area of Expertise
    • Education
    • Journalism/Media
    • Science Policy
    • Science Communication
  • In which areas could you provide mentoring?
    • Outreach and Community Engagement
    • Science Communication
    • Science Policy and Advocacy

Additionally, if you’re part of the Sharing Science Community, please add in the About Me section: “I am a member of the Sharing Science Community.” This will help us match folks within the community to continue to offer support and resources to members. One last thing – Mentoring365 registrants must be members of AGU or:

We very much hope that you’ll take advantage of this fantastic (and free!) program. I wish I would’ve had a scicomm mentor and am so excited that future generations will have that opportunity!

– Shane M Hanlon is Program Manager of AGU’s Sharing Science Program. Find him @ecologyofshane