Mentoring Experience

Posted on December 2, 2011

Yonette Thomas (bio) describes her positive mentoring experiences and her own role as a mentor.


My experience with mentoring and why mentoring is so important to me is... I guess I had really good mentors. I had a father who was an academic. So I came up in the academic thinking. I learned a lot at the dinner table, and I realized that a lot of my classmates and colleagues didn't have that. At the same time, I realized that, often times, I wouldn't listen to my mentors along the way. And then, in hindsight, thinking, "You know, if I'd listened, I would have done better in this situation."

So I think, in part, it's naturalistic because that's what I... I nursed that with mother's milk, but I also see the value of sharing and guiding people. And then I took jobs that put me in a position as mentor, being, in particular, at the NIH, being an extra-mural staff person, our role was to foster the development of researchers and scientists. So it was sort of naturalistic.

And I really think it's important that, particularly when working with minority investigators, as they come along, they don't often have the benefit and the privilege of knowing people who can give them that guidance along the way, and people are often lost. So, for me, I think that's what has driven my desire to mentor more than anything else.

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Excerpted from an interview with the researcher conducted at the 2011 NHSN Conference held in Miami, FL.


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