Wanted! Experienced CERF attendees and First Timers at any point in their career:
Be a Mentor or a Mentee at CERF 2017

The CERF 2017 organizing committee is offering the Meeting Mentoring Program at the conference. The program will match up mentors -- senior graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and venerable clams (long-time ERF-CERF members) with mentees – students, early career professionals, first-time CERF attendees and international attendees. 

The purpose? To help new-comers to CERF make the most of the biennial conference. Mentors provide guidance by contacting their mentee prior to the conference to introduce themselves, offer suggestions about preparing a plan to get to the right sessions, posters, and exhibits; and help and connect them with people who can help guide them in furthering their careers.

This year’s program has reached the maximum number of mentee participants, but if you’d like to serve as a mentor, please contact either Linda Blum or Janet Nestlerode to sign-up by October 3.

Responsibilities of the mentors and mentees are to sign up when registering for the meeting as either a mentor or mentee, exchange emails with one another prior to the conference (or communicate in some other way), attend a Mentoring Program breakfast on Monday, November 6, to meet and learn about each other, and be available to meet on an ad-hoc basis throughout the conference 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 past. Do you remember being excited, nervous, or even anxious about being surrounded by 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, plans to meet with your mentee on Sunday at the opening reception, attending the mentoring breakfast together on Monday prior to morning sessions, and just being a friendly face at the poster sessions. The rest is up to you and your mentee. 

5 Reasons to become a MENTOR:

  1. You know good stuff. Share your wisdom about making the most of CERF meeting. Everyone has gifts and talents to share.
  2. You’ll learn 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 his or her own gifts. You 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 in the in the Federation? Help others to become leaders of the Federation and/or coastal/estuarine sciences.
      5 Reasons to become a MENTEE:
  1. Develop new skills, such as making 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, the large number of posters, or competing social events.
  2. You’ll learn lots of good stuff; interaction 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 personal 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 Meeting Mentoring Program, please contact Linda Blum (lkb2e@virginia.edu) or Janet Nestlerode (nestlerode.janet@epa.gov).