MAA News – The GSC Mentorship Program

"Dante and Virgil in Conversation," from Oxford: Bodleian Library, MS. Holkham Misc. 48, p. 67. © Bodleian Library, University of Oxford.

At the 2010 International Medieval Congress at Leeds, the Graduate Student Committee rolled out a new mentorship program that paired graduate students with an established scholar according to discipline. What began as a modest project with 6 who signed up as mentees and 13 who volunteered to be mentors, the program is growing at an impressive rate. In 2011 for the MAA Annual Meeting, Kalamazoo and Leeds combined, there were 35 mentees with 61 volunteer mentors, and in 2012, before the Leeds figures are in, there are already 58 mentees and 60 volunteer mentors.

Once paired by the GSC, the scholar and graduate student meet for an hour or more to discuss anything from dissertation to publication and career plans. Even though maintaining the relationship is not a requirement of the program, the relationship often continues past the meeting, and the mentors generously agree to advise as they can.

The GSC would like to thank all the past mentors who are making this program possible and would like to specifically acknowledge the continued participation of several scholars in the program: Raymond Cormier (Longwood University), Damian Fleming (Indiana University-Purdue University, Ft. Wayne), Kathryn Gerry (University of Kansas), Elina Gertsman (Case Western University), John Hosler (Morgan State University), Paul Hyams (Cornell University), Nicole Marafioti (Trinity University), Carol Neuman de Vegvar (Ohio Wesleyan University), Elizabeth Parker (Fordham University), Charles Rozier (University of Durham), Nancy Sevcenko (Independent Scholar), Alan Stahl (Princeton University), Carol Symes (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign), Wendy Turner (Augusta State University), Sara Uckelman (Tilburg University), and David Wallace (University of Pennsylvania).

The MAA is planning a similar program to provide mentorship to junior faculty members engaged in their first appointments or between appointments. So far there is enthusiastic support for this idea, and we hope to debut it at the MAA 2013 Annual Meeting in Knoxville.

The 2012-2013 Graduate Student Committee includes Rachel D. Gibson (University of Minnesota, Twin Cities), Caitlin Taylor Holton (University of Guelph), Sebastian J. Langdell (Oxford University), Elizaveta Strakhov, chair (University of Pennsylvania), Ethan Zadoff (CUNY Graduate Center). Michelle Urberg (University of Chicago) was the past chair, and Sarah Celentano Parker (University of Texas), who has just rotated off the committee, managed the mentorship program. Caitlin Taylor Holton now coordinates this program.

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