We're running a targeted Early Career Mentoring program again this year! Conferences provide unique opportunities for biologists to interact with others in their field; however, these opportunities are rarely structured to promote meaningful interactions between the next generation ecologists and more senior scientists. Access to strong mentors both within and outside of their main institution is critical to support early career ecologists and to help them gain the necessary skills to become good mentors themselves, while moving towards the next career stages.
The Early Career Ecologist Section has once again organized a semi-formal mentoring program that pairs early career ecologists (advanced graduate students and recent post-graduates) with established ecologists across career pathways during next week’s ESA Annual Meeting in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Mentors and early career ecologist pairs will attend each other’s talks and plan to meet one-on-one during the meeting to provide feedback on the mentee’s presentation, discuss broad research, teaching, mentoring and work-life strategies, and potentially continue communication or collaboration after the meeting is over. We hope that this opportunity provides a valuable networking connection to provide feedback, share ideas, discuss ecology careers, and bridge generations of ecologists within ESA.
Look for the posters in our booth at the ESA annual meeting featuring our mentors and mentees. This mentoring program was made possible by a Long Range Planning Grant to the Early Career Ecologist Section from ESA and with thanks to the team that helped organize the program (Sarah Supp, Roberto Salguero-Gomez, and Jenni Geib from the Early Career Section; Scott Collins from ESA Leadership; and Daijiang Li, an alumnus of last year's mentoring program). Mentees are provided with a small financial reimbursement to help them mitigate the costs of attending the meeting and to recognize the extra work that they are doing to participate in the program. We owe mentors a BIG thank you for volunteering their time!
More than 30 ESA members volunteered to be potential mentors for the program (Thanks!) and we paired 10 of them with the 10 early career ecologists chosen from the applicants to the program. We’d like to introduce this year’s mentor and mentee participants to you! We hope that this program initiates a larger discussion of early career mentoring within ESA, and creates a long-term network of strong established ecologist mentors and up-and-coming peer mentors for ecologists in transitional career stages.
We think mentoring is really important for early career ecologists, and we’d like to thank everyone listed above for taking the time to participate! We hope mentoring continues to be discussed broadly among members of ESA during the Annual Meeting and throughout the year.