Washington Update

NASEM Highlights the Power of Mentoring in STEMM

By: Debra L. Bouyer
Wednesday, January 27, 2021

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) understands the importance of mentorship, particularly with underrepresented communities. To address this important need, NASEM’s Committee on the Science of Effective Mentoring in STEMM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine) developed tools and resources outlining best practices for helping students navigate the world of STEMM through mentorship. The latest resource, “The Science of Mentorship: A STEMM Podcast, explores the research underlying effective mentorship and highlights STEMM leaders’ personal stories of how positive and negative mentoring experiences affected their careers.

The first episode spotlights Gilda Barabino, PhD, who shared her story of feeling isolated as the only African-American woman in various stages throughout her educational and professional journey. She discussed the importance of mentorship for students from underrepresented communities pursuing STEMM careers and offered the following advice for both mentors and mentees:

  • Establish a supportive network of individuals with similar backgrounds, goals, and objectives
  • Create a safe environment in which mentees are comfortable bringing their whole authentic selves to the relationship (doing so allows them to grow into their own)
  • Open the doors for others and make a difference for these students so they will not have to face the same obstacles.

These are particularly poignant points as National Mentoring Month comes to a close. This month (and beyond), it is important to give back and thank those who made a difference in our lives.