The S2BN Ottawa Chapter’s Inaugural Graduate and PDF Mentorship Program Kicks Off!

Group photo, Jan 22, 2020

Looking back to their time in graduate school, professionals in STEM careers often wished that they had a mentor who would help them visualize the opportunities and pitfalls that lay ahead.

The Ottawa Chapter of the S2BN decided to address this problem, and thus began the creation of a pilot mentorship program for STEM-based trainees in the Ottawa region. We kickstarted the program on January 22nd, 2020 at the Heart & Crown, which established the first meeting between the mentorship pairs.

Led by Dr. Megan Mahoney, our mentorship committee selected a group of nine highly motivated graduate students and post-doctoral fellows from the University of Ottawa and Carleton University in various disciplines (ex. biochemistry, cell biology, organic chemistry, etc.). We then connected them to professionals in government, industry and NGOs based on their career goals and research interests. Professional mentors were volunteers from the following organizations:

  • National Research Council of Canada

  • Dr. Sue Twine Head of Advanced Analytics, Human Health Therapeutics

  • Dr. Risini Weeratna Senior Research Officer, Cancer Immunology, Human Health Therapeutics

  • Dr. Xiaojian Shao Research Officer, Data Analyst

  • Dr. Miroslava Cuperlovic-Culf Senior Research Officer, Scientific Data Mining, Digital Technologies

  • Health Canada

  • Dr. Maria Baca-Estrada Manager for Bacterial & Combination Vaccines Division

  • Environment and Climate Change Canada

  • Dr. Cary Soares Data Scientist

  • Spartan Bioscience

  • Dr. Joris van der Heiden R&D Director

  • Spiderwort

  • Dr. Stephen Hanson Business Development Director

  • Invest Ottawa

  • Mr. Kim Ryel Senior Business Development Strategist, Healthcare

Through this pilot, the S2BN will evaluate the effectiveness of the mentorship program to develop skills that can help mentees achieve career milestones. The program will last for six months, and pairs are expected to meet once a month. As the driving force of the program, mentees will specify their goals, organize mentorship meetings and devise action plans that can set them up for success. The mentors will support mentees by drawing on their insight after years of experience in their respective disciplines, recognize the strengths and weaknesses of the mentee, and hone their action plans for opportunities in their fields of work.

A special thanks to Dr. Megan Mahoney, Dr. Shankar Tumati and Kevin Mercurio for initiating the pilot program. Thank you to all participants in the program and we hope that you will fulfill all your expectations to drive your careers forward!

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