LMP pilots new mentoring programs for graduate students
In February 2021, the Department of Laboratory Medicine & Pathobiology launched a mentoring program for research stream graduate students.
“Mentorship will always be a vital part of career development,” according to Dr. Avrum Gotlieb in an article published in The Pathologist magazine in 2019 (PDF). During the COVID-19 pandemic, this is even more essential as opportunities for networking and work experience have all but disappeared for many students.
To help support students, LMP has launched two pilot programs this month:
- The Graduate Peer-to-Peer Mentorship Program run by the Confederation of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology Students (CLAMPS).
- An alumni-graduate student mentoring program run by the LMP Graduate Office (Ian Marquez and Brandon Wells).
Although the pilot is for research-stream graduate students, the plan is to provide similar alumni mentoring opportunities to MHSc students, and possibly undergraduate students, in the future.
Developing an online community
Both programs use a third-party online platform called Temerty Medicine Connect, powered by Graduway.
This platform, acting like a hybrid of Facebook and LinkedIn, is a private online community for the Temerty Faculty of Medicine.
LMP learners, faculty and alumni will be able to network, post updates, events and job opportunities. Most importantly, the platform has a built-in mentoring function which helps match and connect mentors and mentees.
The platform will also become a hub for CLAMPS where they can interact with the student population and post events.
“This is a fantastic development for us,” says CLAMPS President and MSc student, Ryan Hiebert, “In these times of social distancing, this online space will help us all connect, build our skills and socialize in a way that has been very limited up until now. I’m very excited to be able to launch our mentoring program here as I think it will hugely benefit many students right now who need some support and advice from their peers, or insights into life after their studies from our alumni.”
Providing opportunities for both students and alumni
In Fall 2019, Graduate Program Administrator, Ian Marquez, wanted to test the idea of an alumni-student mentorship program with the graduate students. Together with Brandon Wells, Graduate & Life Sciences Education Officer, they discussed the potential of both mentoring programs with the student body at LMP Town Hall events.
“The Graduate Office places meaningful student services as a top priority” explained Brandon, “Through meaningful student engagement, we have developed a program catered towards the unique needs of LMP graduate students, based on their input and feedback”.
In a recent survey sent to our alumni, 57% of those who responded showed some interest in connecting more with fellow alumni online. 64% also showed some interest in mentoring current students in LMP - with 43% of all respondents being very interested.
As we start to build alumni engagement, this is a perfect way to start getting our alumni more involved in life at LMP and supporting the next generation coming through the department.
“Getting that connection with alumni is essential right now,” commented Dr. Michael Ohh, Graduate Co-Coordinator and Vice-Chair Education, “our students are facing very restricted opportunities for personal and professional development during the pandemic. If our alumni can help provide them with insights, advice and opportunities, it could make a world of difference for many of them.”
“I think this sense of being more than just a mentoring program is also important,” adds Dr. Jeremy Mogridge, Graduate Co-Coordinator, ”Although students can enter into formal mentoring relationships, having a range of people from the LMP community on a platform together will, we hope, encourage more casual networking which is difficult to do right now.”
A staged approach
Graduate students are being invited to join Temerty Medicine Connect now, and an invitation will go out to our registered alumni later this month.
The pilot is due to run until December. Based on feedback from participants throughout the pilot, the program will be refined, and possibly expanded for the start of 2022.
“It will take a bit of time to get everyone engaged with the platform and to build a large enough pool of mentors and mentees,” explains Ian Marquez, Graduate Administrator and project lead for the Graduate Office, “but the potential is great and we’re very excited to what benefits this will bring our learners, faculty and alumni.”
Find out more about the programs and Temerty Medicine Connect
Mentoring for current graduate students on the LMP website
Support a graduate student: mentoring for LMP alumni
Resources for mentors and mentees in LMP