The SIAM Activity Group on Dynamical Systems hosted a mentoring session at DS19 organized by Korana Burke with the help from conference co-organizers Mason Porter and Elaine Spiller. The session included graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, faculty, and career scientists. The main focus of the session was supporting a diverse and inclusive academic environment. Attendees were broken into mentoring groups with each group focusing on a set of topics including: first time at Snowbird, thriving as a graduate student and postdoctoral scholar, transitioning to the next career stage, staying or leaving academia, thriving in industry and/or government labs, balancing work and family life, navigating academia as a woman, underrepresented minority, and/or LGBTQ person. The event was generously sponsored by the GoFundMe campaign spearheaded by Andrew Bernoff.
More than five hundred people expressed interest in participating in the mentoring session, but due to space constraints participation was limited to 125 attendees. Such interest indicates a great need for more mentoring events in the future. Most of the participants were happy with the ability to talk to other scientists in their mentoring group. However, the size of the room proved challenging at times due to the noise from so many people engaged in interesting conversations. As stated by one of the participants "The best part of the networking session is that you get to meet and make friends with colleagues whose research interests are not necessarily close to yours; that aspect of broadening your perspective on things, both specifically in terms of research projects and in terms of career paths is not only fascinating but also beneficial to my own career development."
Organizers of the mentoring session thank all the mentors and mentees for their participation and making the session a success.