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Mentorship is the Key to Success

Posted on July 30, 2014

Finding a mentor with whom you can have a long-term relationship is critical, says Kristina Deligiannidis (bio).


So I've found that one of the main things that have been, I think, a key to success is mentorship. Identifying a mentor very early on has been critical. Someone who you develop a long-term mentoring relationship with, and the content area really isn't that important. It can be something very different. Really have a mentor whom you trust and can really bounce ideas off of who can really serve a variety of functions, and those functions will develop over time of what your needs are that what they provide changes over time.

But without mentorship, I think that it's incredibly difficult to navigate. There's no roadmap. So what CDI provides, what mentors provide, what the programming through these junior investigator awards, the K23, all of these facets provide an intense mentoring experience because this is a career path that requires mentoring.

It's not something you just go and train for and do. It requires ongoing mentorship, and it's not just until you get your R01s. It continues on and on and on because it's a developmental trajectory, this path we've taken as scientists. And our needs will change, and our need for advice and to bounce ideas off of a mentor will always be there. The advice that we seek will always change, but the need will always be there.

So strong mentorship from very early on and have a mentoring team. Having a mentoring team is really critical because you can have mentors who are your science mentors, and they can advise you on very, very detailed scientific questions of how you design your study and the background and rationale for it. You may have a biostatistics mentor who helps you with data analysis, and then you may have more of a global career mentor who's really looking out for things with promotions and tenure and getting your name out nationally and just has more of a global approach, who's kind of watching your back and really promoting you at your own institution and then abroad.

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Excerpted from interview with researcher at the 2014 Career Development Institute for Psychiatry in Pittsburgh, PA.


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