Wanted! Experienced CERF attendees and First-Timers at any point in their career:

Be a Mentor or a Mentee at CERF 2021

The CERF 2021 organizing committee invites you to participate in the Virtual Meeting Mentoring Program. Anyone attending the meeting has potential to participate in the program. You are never too young to be a mentor. Good mentors can be senior graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and venerable clams (long-time ERF-CERF members); the only requirement to be a mentor is that you have attended previous CERF meetings, have experience in an area of estuarine or coastal science, are an excellent listener, and have a genuine interest in helping other meeting attendees develop personally and professionally. You are never too old to be mentored. First-time and international attendees especially are encouraged to sign up for the mentoring program.

We thank the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies for their sponsorship of this program.

First-Timers Welcome and Orientation

  How to Sign Up  

Sign up when registering for the conference: indicate your interest in the online registration form to participate as either a mentor or mentee. Individuals will be paired by the mentoring program and are then responsible for exchanging emails with one another prior to the meeting (or communicating in some other way), and be available to meet (virtually) on an ad-hoc basis prior to and during the meeting as suits each mentor-mentee pair.

What is Mentoring?

Mentoring may sound like such a serious endeavor, but really all it means is giving advice to someone – using your own experiences to provide some perspective or providing specific skill guidance – about how to make the most of a CERF meeting. It also means listening and being supportive.

Who Would Be a Good Mentor?
You. You’ve been to CERF meetings in the past. Do you remember being excited, nervous, or even anxious about being in a professional space with lots of people you didn’t know. There is always someone who will attend the meeting who could benefit from your experience. You’re never too young to mentor. You’re never too old to be mentored.
How Much Time Does It Take to Mentor?

It’s up to you. It could be as little as a welcome email introducing yourself prior to the meeting and meeting virtually with your mentee before the start of the meeting. The rest is up to you and your mentee.

Mentors should provide guidance by contacting their mentee prior to the conference to introduce themselves, offer suggestions about preparing a plan to attend the virtual sessions, and set up a virtual meeting. Mentors can also recommend networking events, talks, or special sessions for mentees to attend and connect them with people who can help guide them in furthering their careers.

Mentors are encouraged to meet with their mentee at least once during the meeting, and follow-up via email, video chat or phone after the conference. 

5 reasons to become a mentor:

  1. You know good stuff. Share your wisdom about making the most of the CERF meeting. Everyone has gifts and talents to share.
  2. You’ll learn good stuff. Strengthen the lessons you’ve already learned and see things through another’s eyes. Enhance your communication skills. Mentoring will likely also inspire fresh ideas since you’ll be stepping out of your normal circle of friends and associates.
  3. You may build long lasting relationships. Your career could benefit. You may end up with more than just a mentee – you may end up with a new student, post-doc, or colleague.
  4. Satisfaction of passing on knowledge. Gain great satisfaction from passing on and sharing knowledge. Help someone see their own gifts. You’ll feel like you did something that matters and it may end up changing your own life.
  5. Build a more diverse, more vibrant, more stable Federation. Help inspire the next generation of estuarine and coastal scientists. Help ensure that the leaders of tomorrow’s Federation are diverse. Set the tone for the Federation of the future by helping those just entering it. What better way is there to ensure continued success or instigate change than by helping others to become leaders of the Federation and/or coastal/estuarine sciences?

5 reasons to become a mentee:

  1. Learn how to make the most of a professional meeting. Professional meetings can be exciting and stressful at the same time. There is so much going on all at once. Your mentor can help by providing advice about how to select from among the concurrent oral sessions or the large number of posters.
  2. Learn new science and new perspectives. Interacting with your mentor can be intellectually stimulating and provide you a different point of view about your science or your career aspirations.
  3. Improve your communication skills by interacting with a person who has a genuine interest in helping you develop personally and professionally.
  4. Discover the importance of collegiality and sense of community. Networking is a central part of any meeting. Your mentor can introduce you to many of the people you’d like to meet to talk about common interests. Entering into a mentoring relationship adds your mentor to your network.
  5. Receive advice/information about career opportunities. Who knows, your mentor might be just the person to connect you with your next educational opportunity or job.

For more information about the Virtual Meeting Mentoring Program, please contact Mike Allen ([email protected]) or Christina Bonsell ([email protected]), and look for more details on the CERF registration form and in upcoming articles in CERF newsletters.