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Finding a Peer Mentor

Posted on August 2, 2012

Carolyn Rodriguez (bio) states strategies for establishing relationships with potential peer mentors.

 

In terms of finding peer mentorship, I think being proactive is a good first step, so I'm often asked, "Well, how do you form these kind of networks?" And it's really about just being friendly, being inquisitive, going up to somebody who is a couple years older than you and saying, "I read your papers," or "I see that you've done a lot of great things. How have you been able to do that?" And just finding out, from not only people in your community, but when you go to conferences and meetings, take advantage of when there's an open poster session and there is somebody who you think has been doing a good job in their career.

Just take a moment and ask them, "How have you managed to be able to do this? Do you have any tips? Do you have any tricks?" Any time I go to a meeting in my institution and I see somebody that is new or that I don't know that well, or even somebody that I do know well, I'll ask them, "Do you have any tips for me? How do you manage your time? How do you manage your e-mail?"

The nice thing about our community is that people are always willing to extend themselves, and I think we're all in a common struggle and a common mission to try and do good for patients and to advance the science.

If you can help out somebody else, then I think that feels good to people. People, I think, want to mentor.

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Excerpted from interview with researcher at the 2012 Career Development Institute for Psychiatry in Pittsburgh, PA.

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