My science mentoring philosophy in a nutshell
I am fortunate to have had phenomenal mentors throughout my scientific training. My mentoring philosophy is a product of these experiences as a trainee, as well as my experiences as a PI, and who I am as a person. It is my belief that I have three key functions as a mentor – to provide perspective, support, and autonomy to my lab members.
I sincerely believe that every individual has the potential to achieve great success in science. I also think that the upper limits to someone’s potential are unknown and unknowable. Consequently, I do not believe it is my place to make the decisions and choices of my lab members, such as what research project to work on, what experiment to do, or which results to follow up on. Instead, I view my role as one of using my experiences to provide perspective, and to support them in their final decisions. I believe that this approach allows lab members to be responsible for their decisions, while simultaneously cultivating their independence and self-confidence.
I believe that my mentoring approach has two additional benefits. First, it can serve as a basis to build a true scientific partnership, something that I deeply value. Second, I am convinced that for me personally, it provides the most enjoyable and rewarding way to make discoveries and to push science forward. Each lab member has their own unique experiences, strengths and perspectives. By encouraging and empowering lab members to chart their own trajectories, I have seen firsthand how they have helped the lab do research I could not have conceived of, and move it in directions I could not have anticipated.