Young scientists face overwhelming pressures as they prepare for their careers. The number of scientists with PhDs is rising while the number of positions in research universities remains flat. The availability of funding has plateaued or declined.
In the face of such pressures, young scientists need fewer burdens and more support if they are to succeed as the next generation of scientists. One way for young scientists to find support is to create networks and build mentoring relationships.
During this round-table discussion, four women in science will share their stories of attaining excellence in their careers and will discuss how mentors helped them along the way.
Key to a mentoring relationship is communication. In fact, studies have shown that there are significant behavioral, attitudinal, relational, motivational and career benefits from mentoring (Eby et al., 2008).
But finding a mentor can be difficult. During a short exercise after the round-table discussion, you will focus on identifying what you are looking for in a mentor. Then, during the speed mentoring session, you will meet potential mentors from among KAUST faculty, staff, and postdocs. You will introduce yourself and learn something about several mentors and you may leave the session with a connection that will help you for life!
Marie-Laure Boulot is the Enrichment Office director at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). She sets strategies, oversees program development and positions KAUST’s enrichment programs in Saudi Arabia and in the international landscape. She graduated from Paris Dauphine University where she studied finances and marketing. Marie-Laure joined KAUST as a founding staff member in 2009. Starting with the inaugural 2010 Winter Enrichment Program, Marie-Laure has successfully spearheaded the development and expansion of the University's enrichment programs that expand the minds of not only students but also faculty, staff and community members and in-Kingdom guests.
Dr. Bennett is the Chief of Science and Harry and Diana Hind Dean of Research and Collections. She was the Academy's first ever Associate Curator of Microbiology, helping broaden the Academy’s research scope to include a dedicated focus on viruses and bacteria. Her specialty lies in infectious diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans.
From 2004-2011, Bennett was an Associate Professor at the Asia-Pacific Institute of Tropical Medicine & Infectious Diseases, part of the School of Medicine at the University of Hawaii. During her seven years at the Institute, she led a number of research projects on virus evolution, identification, and transmission with funding from the National Institutes of Health. She applies advanced technologies from genomics and bioinformatics to study dengue, hantavirus, influenza, and other viruses, and also bacteria such as leptospirosis and those found in mosquito vectors. She is especially interested in the nature of genetic mutations that give viruses the potential to cause epidemics or switch to new hosts.
Prior to her work in Hawaii, Bennett researched the dengue virus in Puerto Rico and parasitic roundworms in Texas and Vancouver. She received her B.Sc. from McGill University and her Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of British Columbia.
Prior to joining KAUST as Manager of the Academic Writing Services, Virginia Unkefer worked as an editor and assisted faculty members with their research communications at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology from 1996 to 2009. From 2009 to 2011, she was engaged in writing activities for several offices at KAUST, including the Office of the President. With support from the Vice President for Research, Virginia started the Office of Academic Writing Services in 2011 to offer a range of research communication support services to faculty members, including editing, scientific illustration, and support for research-related websites. Virginia’s formal training is in English Language and Literature with a PhD in medieval studies from Michigan State University.
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