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What to Expect from your Mentor. Elaine M. Hylek, MD, MPH Associate Professor Boston University. Mentor. First described by Homer as a “wise and trusted counselor” Someone who takes a special interest in helping another person develop into a successful professional.

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what to expect from your mentor

What to Expect from your Mentor

Elaine M. Hylek, MD, MPH

Associate Professor

Boston University

  • First described by Homer as a “wise and trusted counselor”
  • Someone who takes a special interest in helping another person develop into a successful professional
a real life example of the ultimate mentor
A real-life example of the ultimate mentor
  • He was fond of making bold pronouncements that one day he would outdo Buddha, Gandhi and Mandela in world influence.
  • He recognized the potential.
  • He developed techniques to sharpen his focus.
  • He was the role model, career architect, cheerleader and first coach.
  • He became his chief promoter.
the ultimate mentor
The Ultimate Mentor

“He was instrumental in helping me develop the drive to achieve, but his role was one of support and guidance, not interference.”

Tiger Woods speaking of his father, Earl D. Woods


Mentor’s Multiple Roles

Advisor-shares career experience and knowledge

Supporter-provides emotional and moral encouragement

Tutor-gives specific feedback on performance

Sponsor-seeks opportunities

Model-exemplifies the kind of person one should

be to be an academic

An effective mentoring relationship is characterized by

mutual trust, understanding, and empathy.

Morris Zelditch


Mentor’s Multiple Roles

Tangible Examples:

Advisor-shares career experience and knowledge

Time management-ensures protected time

Develop research ideas

Scholarly activities

Outlines trade-offs

Job search


Mentor’s Multiple Roles

Tangible Examples:

Supporter-provides encouragement

Your papers will be rejected.

Your grants will be rejected.

Mentors provide the broader context that facilitates an objective evaluation of your “successes” and “failures”


Mentor’s Multiple Roles

Tangible Examples:

Tutor-gives specific feedback on performance




Oral presentations


Mentor’s Multiple Roles

Tangible Examples:

Sponsor-seeks opportunities

Funding sources


Job contacts

Circle of influence

Why would any of this matter????


Creates Opportunities

What objective criteria affirm that your

work/contribution has made a difference??


Goal: to advance the educational and personal growth of the student

  • Your mentor’s primary responsibility is to you
  • Your education
  • Your professional development
  • Your recognition
  • Your career

“In the end, they establish an environment in which

the student’s accomplishment is limited only by the extent

of his or her talent.”

why be a mentor
Why be a mentor?
  • Achieve professional and personal satisfaction
  • Attract good students-Produce better research,

papers, and grant proposals

  • Keep current-Stay on top of your field
  • Enhance productivity-New ideas, new directions
  • Develop professional network
qualities of a good mentor
Qualities of a Good Mentor
  • Listens
  • Accessible
  • Constructive feedback
  • Encourages confidence and independent thinking
  • Role model
  • Builds network
  • Encourages multiple mentors
  • Avoids dictating choices or controlling behavior

National Academy of Sciences

National Academy of Engineering

Institute of Medicine

National Academy Press, 1997


Ex: Chemical engineer at Dow Chemical Company

mentor for engineering student at Carnegie Mellon University

Carol B. Muller, Ph.D., Founder, MentorNet


Phases of Training in Scientific Investigation

Early: Mentors may suggest projects-scientifically

innovative, challenging, and feasible. Mentors

should monitor work closely.

Transition: Increasingly independent role in identifying

research questions, formulating hypotheses, designing

and conducting experiments, and presenting results.

the good mentor checklist
The Good Mentor Checklist
  • Ensures that you get academic credit for your intellectual contribution
  • Nominates you for every conceivable award
  • Ensures that your evaluators are cognizant of your terrific work
  • Facilitates introductions and networking to launch your academic career
potential conflicts
Potential Conflicts
  • Intellectual property
  • Authorship credit
  • Who gets to present at the big meeting?
  • Your ultimate goal of independence
recognize negative mentoring
Recognize Negative Mentoring
  • Ambivalent, inattentive
  • Inaccessible
  • Insecure
  • Lack of mentoring skills
  • Lacks intellectual generosity-perhaps the most difficult……it is challenging to “let go”.
two way street
Two-Way Street
  • What is your role in facilitating this relationship?
  • What can you do to help ensure your relationship with your mentor>>>>>colleague endures?
  • Be explicit early on about your expectations and goals
  • Do not be passive when it comes to YOUR career
  • Know the criteria for promotion
  • Do your homework…….Be prepared…….
  • Go the extra mile……..

Barriers to being a

good mentor

  • Content area
  • Intellectual generosity


Moving toward


Epstein delivered, too. He felt his successes should have earned him more money, more independence, more respect. Somewhere along the line, Lucchino began wondering whether the kid really appreciated all the opportunities Lucchino had afforded him.
  • It gets complicated when you mold someone into something greater than yourself. When a guy starts out fetching your coffee and paper for you, maybe it’s impossible to ever view him as your equal, or, even more horrifying, someone who has surpassed you in stature and reputation. Human nature being what it is, maybe this split was inevitable.

Jackie MacMullan, Boston Globe 11/2/2005


As a pathologist, Dr. Warren found that in over 50% of the patients studied, small curved bacteria had colonized the lower part of the stomach (antrum). More significantly, he made the crucial observation that there was inflammation in the gastric mucosa around the bacterial site.


Although Dr. Warren noticed the first evidence of the organism, Dr. Barry Marshall provided the "acid test" - in fact, literally - by actually swallowing a bacterial potion in water and developing the symptoms, after which he was duly cured by a dose of antibiotics.



The prevalent scientific wisdom suggested that a

  • bacterial colony could not survive in the highly
  • acidic gastric environment.
  • Together Warren and Marshall undertook a study of
    • biopsies from 100 patients.
  • After some perseverance, Marshall was able to cultivate
    • this hitherto unknown bacterial species (originally
    • called Campylobacter pylori) from several of these biopsies.
Drs. J. Robin Warren and Barry Marshall celebrate after learning that they have received the 2005 Nobel Prize in Medicine.
why is a mentor not important
Why is a Mentor not important?
  • At the end of the day, it is ALL ABOUT YOU.
  • There are many kinds of “mentoring”
    • Peer mentoring
    • Dual mentoring ( mentor for content, mentor for methods)
    • Self mentoring
    • Mentoring you ‘absorb’ from the culture

Mentor Checklist





Role Model

final thoughts

and remember………………