With the current academic year now fully in swing, the curtain has risen on the sophomore edition of the LSCDS Mentorship Program. Inaugurated in 2015-2016, this program seeks to provide a truly unique opportunity for a group of graduate students to develop connections with industry professionals in their fields of interest. Through mentor-mentee matching, official networking events and skill-building workshops, the program provides the foundation for professional and personal growth during graduate school years.
In general, mentorship refers to a relationship in which “a more experienced or knowledgeable person helps to guide a less experienced or less knowledgeable person” (1). Although various other definitions exist, what is clear is that the acquisition of knowledge and advice from someone with the right experience is an invaluable asset that is often out of the reach of graduate students. This was the motivation for the creation of the program: To facilitate and nurture one-on-one relationships that would maximize the impact on a selected group of mentees.
Here’s how the program works:
- Application Process – Students interested in becoming mentees submit an application detailing their motivations and highlighting their suitability for the program.
- Matching and Training – Students are selected by rounds of voting and then matched with an industry mentor based on their interests indicated in the application. Mentees are required to attend a seminar on networking etiquette, mentor-mentee communication tips and how to get the most out of the program.
- Facilitated interaction – Several official LSCDS events throughout the year bring mentors and mentees together in networking events throughout the program.We will also provide useful mentorship related resources/guidelines and periodically check-up on mentee-mentor pairings to providing support and facilitate a meaningful experience.
- Self-directed interaction – The mentor and mentee agree on a certain framework for meeting and discussing salient issues.
- Skill-building – Workshops on LinkedIn profiles, personal finance, resumes and more help mentees hone practical skills needed to position themselves favourably in the job market.
In past years, our programs have featured mentors from industries such as Medical Affairs, Research and Development, Regulatory Affairs and Scientific Commercialization and more. Experienced mentors will share their own experiences, provide invaluable advice, and offer personalized feedback in face-to-face meetings over the course of 6 months.
“This event is really a way to officially open the program and build some momentum for the year,” said Omeragic, a 3rd year PhD student in Pharmaceutical Science. “In addition it gives all the participants of the program, both mentors and mentees, the chance to get to know each other a little over some food and drinks, and to start building what we hope are productive professional relationships.”
Bill Dai, a mentee and 6th year PhD student at the Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering, agrees: “I think we’re very fortunate to have this kind of program here at U of T, geared specifically towards life science grad students. Just getting the chance to speak to people who have followed a path we’re considering gives us a great resource of information.”
The 2018 LSCDS mentorship program for commences in January for a projected term of 6 month until June. Application and selection for the 2017-2018 opens on November 23rd to December 8th. Please check by on November 23rd for application forms.
Sources: (1) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mentorship
Written by LSCDS Exec Member Adriano Vissa
Adriano is a 5th year collaborative PhD candidate in the Department of Biochemistry and the Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering. He also holds a Bachelor of Commerce from McGill University and is interested in combining science and business in a career in scientific commercialization, marketing management or consulting.