Mentor Program

The Society is pleased to announce a new Career Mentoring Program for SFB members. The goal of this program is to provide our members with guidance on career options and practical advice from experienced biomaterials scientists.

This is a “One-to-One” mentoring program in which mentees will be assigned a specific mentor who has experience in their areas of interest. You may participate as a Mentee or as a Mentor (or both!). It is hoped that mentors and mentees will have an in-person meeting at the 2018 SFB Annual Meeting in Atlanta, in addition to further meetings by phone/video call. The length of time commitment can be mutually decided by the mentors and mentees.

Instructions for signing up are below, as are some potential topics of discussion in mentoring sessions. Once you have signed up, the Society will match mentees with appropriate mentors, and will assist them in making initial contact.

To participate as a Mentee, sign up at THIS LINK. Once matched, the mentee is responsible for reaching out to their assigned mentor to schedule meetings, either in person or on a phone/video call. Mentees should also prepare a short list of discussion topics for each meeting. The frequency of meetings is flexible, but we suggest that contact be made at least twice a year, with one meeting being a face-to-face meeting at the annual meeting.

To participate as a Mentor, sign up at THIS LINK. The responsibility of a mentor is to meet periodically with their assigned mentee(s), either in person or on a phone/video call. Mentees are responsible for scheduling the meetings, as well as providing a brief list of topics to be covered. The frequency of meetings is up to you and your mentee(s), but we suggest that contact me made at least twice a year, with one meeting being a face-to-face meeting at the annual meeting.

Potential topics of discussion include:

  •    General Career Advice
  •    Practical Advice on Searching for a Job
  •    Practical Advice on being a Professor
  •    Practical Advice on Working in Industry

A more detailed list of discussion topics follow, however the format and content of the mentoring meetings is flexible based on your preferences.

This program is jointly sponsored by the Education & Professional Development committee and the Industrial Relations Committee of the Society for Biomaterials. If you have any questions about the program, please contact Jan Stegemann (jpsteg@umich.edu), Chair of the E&PD Committee.

Mentoring topics for discussion: These are example topics you may want to discuss in phone or video calls, or in one-to-one meetings (e.g. arranged at the SFB Annual Meeting).

  • General Career Advice
  • How to succeed as a graduate student, post-doc
  • Industry vs Academia
  • What to look for in (first) academic, industrial, government job
  • How to succeed as a professor, in private sector, government
  • Career transitions - into biomaterials; from one biomaterials sector to another

Practical Advice on Searching for a Job

  • Networking and finding positions to apply for
  • Preparing for interviews
  • How to interview effectively

Practical Advice on being a Professor

  • Running a lab
  • Finding and securing funding
  • Translating your research

Practical Advice on Working in Industry

  • Working on cross-functional teams
  • Office environment vs academia
  • Pitching to your boss

Practical Advice on Specific Topics

  • FDA/regulatory process
  • Intellectual property
  • Effective communication/presentation skills
  • How to negotiate

Longer-term mentoring opportunities: these are topics and activities you may want to add to your mentoring relationship over time.

  • Review drafts of papers
  • Review drafts of grants
  • Accept cold calls, e-mails to continue mentoring discussion, specific advice
  • Set up periodic calls, emails to continue mentoring discussion, specific advice
  • Host mentee in lab - short-term re: specific techniques ("lab" could be academic, industrial, government)
  • Host mentee in lab - short-term re: general info on directing a lab
  • Host mentee in lab - longer-term research endeavor (perhaps funded by industry?)

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