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By Alexis Short
Throughout January, the National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN) celebrated mentoring for #NationalMentoringMonth. On Jan. 24, 2019, NRMN hosted the #NRMNmentoringMatters Twitter chat, making an impact by sparking interest in mentoring across the nation.
Social media is a wonderful way to not only get connected with friends, family and acquaintances, but to also strengthen professional networks. Realizing that life and the digital world intricately overlap at this time in history, why not take advantage of social media opportunities by leveraging these constructs to cultivate a larger professional pool of ideas and opportunities? We often neglect to push ourselves outside the box, whether it is to learn a challenging new skill, focus on networking, or look for different research opportunities. This aligns with mentorship, which celebrates the notion of trying something new or going outside of our comfort zone with the aid of someone who has experience in that scenario.
At NRMN, we strive every day to create a network of supportive, impactful individuals who are truly invested in the success of the next scientific generation. Growing professional networks may seem like a daunting task but NRMN helps by sharing new approaches and expanding the networking environment into the digital space. The recent #NRMNmentoringMatters Twitter chat is an example of how NRMN users from across the country can engage with one another through social media, sharing their experiences and advice.
In this Twitter chat, NRMN posted a series of questions to prompt conversation, such as asking mentors what advice they would like to give to mentees, asking mentees to think about what aspects of their mentor’s style are helpful, and what aspects of mentorship have been beneficial. Twitter chats are only successful with audience participation, and it was exciting to read the responses from the community. Researchers and students shared what they like about mentoring, and there were many shout-outs highlighting the positive impacts that mentors have at all career and education stages.
It can be easy to overlook the sheer power that the digital world has to offer, especially within the confines of professional and personal development. Leveraging as many opportunities as possible to engage with individuals and leaders within any industry or niche makes a great goal for 2019. Start by asking questions, or just put yourself out there in a professional manner, and you, more often than not, will be received in the same regard.
Personal and professional development is something that is ever changing and evolving. The NRMN helps facilitate users to take advantage of many digital opportunities, and can assist them in growing their professional network. We are encouraged by mentors at all career stages as they continue the important work of giving back to the community by mentoring the next generation of mentees.
View the #NRMNmentoringmatters campaign on Twitter.
The Diversity Program Consortium Coordination and Evaluation Center at UCLA is supported by Office of the Director of the National Institutes of Health / National Institutes of General Medical Sciences under award number U54GM119024.