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Finding a Mentor

In an earlier post I shared a list of programs that girls can get involved in to support their pursuits in STEM. Another powerful strategy to use is finding, keeping and relying on a mentor to guide you on your path.

At an early age, if we feel like we aren’t getting the advice and information we need to make the right decision, it may be time to seek out a mentor. This person may be from school, in the community, or from a national organization. What follows is a list of organizations that can help connect young women with mentors:

Association of Women in Mathematics (AWM): The goal of their mentor network is to match men and women mentors with girls who are interested in mathematics or a career in mathematics. Their program is open to students as well as teachers from grade to graduate school.

Association of Women in Science (AWIS): They provide and publish materials and resources on the mentoring process and making the most of it. They also offer an online mentoring program called Mentor Net.

Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE): Members are matched with mentors in this online program. It is voluntary and open to all higher-grade members.

National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE): They offer three different types of mentoring programs in the areas of Licensure, Career Transition and Mentors in Government.

If you don’t find what you need in a mentor through one of these or another organization, look to those around you for help. Your teachers, guidance counselors, parents and other adults you trust may have suggestions or even be good candidates for mentoring you themselves! There are tons of resources available online about mentoring and tips on finding a mentor.

I can’t overstate the value and importance of building a relationship with someone with experience and know-how in your field who you can lean on as a confidant, supporter and advisor as you move ahead in your studies and career. A good mentor may make all the difference in helping you make hard choices and stay on the path when things get rough.

Do you have a mentor already? How did you find her/him? How has she/he helped you? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Karen Purcell

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