Fostering a Peer Mentoring Culture

I realize that it has been an embarrasingly long time since I updated this blog. I had all sorts of grandiose plans for it, and I think my problem was that I was thinking too broad, too pie-in-the-sky. I’m going to try to focus on short and informative blog posts.

One of the things that I have been thinking about graduate school is the idea of building a Peer Mentoring culture in our department. I believe that students should help and support each other, and we need to provide a forum to do that. Not just assign mentors, but provide a time and a place to do that.

We try to foster a mentoring culture within our student group, BioData-Club. Students are free to talk about issues that concern them, especially about datasets, and are encouraged to share their experiences of software that they’ve used. I believe that we try to give students a psychologically safe place to talk about their issues with data. We try to make people feel like they’re not alone, and coach beginners so they can get over the hump.

We’re now embarking on an experiment to reach even more people at OHSU, because we know there are lots of students who struggle with practical skills in data analysis. Our group is growing, and that’s exciting.

I’m going to try and get everyone in our group to write a paper about Peer Mentoring Culture and how to encourage it in other schools.