Informal Mentors for Graduate Students and Postdocs
ROLE OF INFORMAL MENTORS: Informal mentors aim to provide a supportive environment for graduate students and postdocs and are available for informal discussions on professional development (e.g., feedback on applications for jobs, observing time, grants; bouncing research ideas; guidance for giving good talks and being effective teachers); perspectives on different career paths; advice on work-family-life balance; and help in overcoming diverse challenges. Students or postdocs considering jobs in specific cities, countries, and institutions may also find it useful to chat with mentors who have worked there.
In our model, a graduate student or postdoc is not rigidly asssigned to one specific mentor, but has access to the whole pool of mentors shown in the table below.
Informal mentors complement, rather than replace, the more formal research-centered advising channels for graduate students (e.g. the graduate advisor, the research supervisor, the research committee for the second year project, and the thesis committee).
EXAMPLE OF MENTORING ACTIVITIES
- Semester mentoring lunch: Each Fall and Spring semester, the Chair's office will fund one mentoring lunch for graduate students and one for postdocs, where students/postdocs invite a group of mentors to lunch (or vice-versa). The graduate student and postdoc representatives should coordinate with the Chair's office at least 2 weeks prior to the lunch so that we can get CNS approval on expense accounts.
- One-on-one mentoring: Each mentor is available ~1 hour each month (at times/location in table below) to discuss informally with any graduate student or postdoc who drops by.
- Attend a research talk together: A mentor can invite a graduate student/postdoc to attend a research seminar or colloquium together and then talk about it briefly afterward. This is a good way to introduce the graduate student or postdoc to broader topics in their discipline and discuss effective strategies to give good talks.
- Attend a class or discussion session together: A mentor can invite a graduate student/postdoc to attend an undergraduate class by an outstanding teacher or a discussion section directed by an effective TA and talk about it afterwards. This will give a good start to students and postdocs interested in pursuing careers with a teaching component and also help them identify effective teachers and TAs to go to for help when they TA or teach a class for the first time.
|Mentor||Mentees||Monthly Office Hours/Location||Previous Affiliations/Connections||Research Areas||Comments|
|Boylan-Kolchin, Mike||Graduate Students, Postdocs||2-3 p.m., First Wednesday of every month, RLM 17.212||UC Berkeley, Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics (MPA), UC Irvine, University of Maryland||Theory, Computation, Galaxy Formation, Cosmology|
|Bromm, Volker||Graduate Students, Postdocs||3-4 p.m., First Wednesday of every month, RLM 16.214||Germany, Cambridge (UK), Harvard, Yale, Italy||Theoretical and Computational Astrophysics||How to be competitive for the postdoc market. How to prepare for non-academic careers|
|Casey, Caitlin||Graduate Students, Postdocs||1-2 p.m., First Wednesday every month, RLM 16.218||University of AZ, Steward Observatory, University of Cambridge, Institute of Astronomy, University of HI, Institute for Astronomy, University of CA, Irvine, Department of Physics and Astronomy||Galaxy Evolution||Happy to discuss anything that mentee would like to discuss|
|Cochran, Anita||Graduate Students, Postdocs, Undergraduates||Anytime, RLM 15.212||Planetary science, National service, soft money positions|
|Evans, Neal||Graduate Students, Postdocs||Available on request||ESO, ALMA, ASIAA, KASI||Star formation, molecular clouds, astrochem, circumstellar disks||Interested in helping those with an extra burden (women, first in family to get to college, minorities, etc.)|
|Finkelstein, Keely||Graduate Students, Postdocs||1-2 p.m., Third Tuesday of every month, RLM 16.228||Texas A&M University, Arizona State University, University of Washington||Extragalactic, Astronomy Education & Outreach|
|Finkelstein, Steve||Graduate Students, Postdocs||Available for drop in meeting or by appointment. RLM 16210||University of Washington, Arizona State University, Texas A&M University||Galaxy Evolution|
|Jogee, Shardha||Graduate Students, Postdocs||10-11 a.m., Third Thursday every month, RLM 15.214||Cambridge University (England), Yale University, Caltech, STScI/NASA, MPIA and MPE (Germany), UT Austin||Galaxy Evolution||Happy to discuss science, academic and non-academic careers, work-family balance, overcoming adversity, leadership skills, and anything else mentee wants to discuss.|
|Kraus, Adam||Graduate Students, Postdocs||1-2 p.m., First Friday every month, RLM 15.310B||Caltech, University of HI at Manoa, Harvard-Smithsonian Cfa||Exoplanets, Star/Planet Formation, Stellar Astrophysics|
|Kumar, Pawan||Graduate Students, Postdocs||Please contact for appointment email@example.com||IAS, Princeton University, MIT||High Energy Astrophysics||Happy to mentor outside of research area too.|
|McQuinn, Kristen (Kristy)||Graduate Students, Postdocs||2-3 p.m., Second Tuesday of every month, RLM 17.224||University of Minnesota, Boston University||Stellar populations, Dwarf Galaxies, Local Group galaxies, Star formation histories, Local Volume distance measurements, Extremely metal deficient galaxies||I worked in business and consulting for 10 years prior to getting my PhD. I'd be happy to answer questions about careers outside academia.|
|Robinson, Rob||Graduate Students, Postdocs||Anytime||Any|
|Wheeler, Craig||Graduate Students, Postdocs||Available on request, RLM 17.230||MIT, University of Colorado, Caltech, Harvard, various offices of the AAS including President, Aspen Center for Physics, NRC Space Studies Board||Theory and observations of supernovae, stellar evolution, astrobiology, technology development, writing|
|Winget, Don||Graduate Students, Postdocs, Undergraduates||1:30 p.m. every Friday, RLM 16.236||University of Texas (35 years +)||Compact objects, cosmochronology. Observations, theoretical and experimental physics and astrophysics|