ASM has developed a variety of programs that foster mentoring relationships. Specifically, ASM assists students and professionals to identify an appropriate mentor and offers members the opportunity to identify their interests by providing a mentoring relationship. The Minority Mentoring Program was designed primarily to assist US minority students and professionals in facilitating such relationships. International members are encouraged to utilize the International Mentoring Program found online at index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2802 for their mentoring needs.
A mentor is someone who takes a special interest in helping another person develop into a successful professional. A mentor can be a trusted counselor or guide. They can serve as an important role model, adviser, teacher or friend as one prepares for and embarks on a career.1
In many cases, the ability of minority students and young professionals to make connections with experienced microbiologists is simply limited by circumstances. For an early career scientist, educator, or student, a single interaction with an experienced scientist can be sufficient to reinforce his or her interest and confidence in science itself or in the future of their scientific career.
By participating in the Minority Mentoring Program, a student or young professional can seek career advice, have a paper for publication or grant reviewed, or even join a scientist in their laboratory as a short-term fellow. A Minority Mentoring Program applicant will be able to search the database and contact a prospective mentor in their area of scientific interest or discipline.
Minority Mentoring Program volunteers post their name, institution, fax and e-mail address, field of specialty, together with information on the level of scientist they would be prepared to mentor. The Minority Mentoring Program has identified volunteers who can:
- Discuss current research in the mentor's field of expertise.
- Provide general information on the educational path for the particular scientific interest or specialty- such as which schools offer appropriate programs in the microbiological sciences in support of the requestor’s interests.
- Provide general information about which courses should be taken and what financial aid may be available for minority students.
- Provide advice and feedback to a student or professional on projects, curriculum, grant applications, or publication of research results.
- Host a promising young scientist in the mentor's laboratory.
1 (Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy. 1997. Adviser, Teacher, Role Model, Friend: On Being a Mentor to Students in Science and Engineering. National Academy Press).