2021/2022 peer mentoring groups

Succeeding in Academia

We are 10 Postdocs and PhD students from 3 different institutes forming a peer mentoring group focused on the range of skills necessary to succeed in the academic world. We meet every month to discuss topics like career planning, job finding and work-life balance. The aim of our peer group is to facilitate a productive exchange of our experiences, serve as platform for discussing our problems and allow us to help each other find appropriate solutions or tools to deal with these situations. We invite experts to give us workshops on the following topics: the writing of grant proposals, career planning towards professorship, working efficiently and effectively and managing and influencing people, both as a peer and as a supervisor. We also meet with our four mentors to talk about career planning and what they observe to be important for a successful scientific career. Other than workshops and meetings with our mentors, we also meet regularly among ourselves to tackle topics such as diversity and inclusion in academia or for example to share tools we use to help with planning, time-management and work-life balance.

Contact: Xanthe H. Verbeek

What’s next Life after PhD_Post doc

This group was born from the shared idea and need to prepare the next moves on our career path. Our main objectives therefore focus on gathering and sharing knowledge to better understand what career options are available for us and set up solid career plans that suit our interests and goals in life, whether it is in academia, industry, NGOs, or elsewhere. These are to be supplemented with work to

  • learn how to combine assertiveness with nonviolent communication, as well as explore tools to deal with difficult situations
  • develop our networking skills 
  • to leverage available opportunities and create connections with people who can help us achieve our career goals.

Contact: Amina Ribeiro

Effective Communication and Visibility

In this peer mentoring group we aim to improve our communication and visibility skills at different levels relevant for our future careers. This includes improving our visibility on social media, the communication of our research to students, superiors and the public, and to clearly communicate our goals during an interview and grant application. Finally, we also want to critically reflect on the current situation of women in science and how to boost our visibility and career perspectives. As part of our mentoring group we have organized workshops on social media, science communication, grant writing and a panel discussion. In addition to meetings with our six senior mentors and the peer group, we also initiated projects to put what we have learned in the workshops to action! We are excited to have started a vibrant community and look forward to presenting the results of our projects – follow us on Twitter (#WeComSci) to see more!

Contacts: Dr. Catherine Jutzeler, Dr. Juliane Klatt, Dr. Sarah Brueningk

Octopus Career Design

Our group of soon to be graduated or early postdocs is meeting to define career goals and to help each other in acquiring the skillset needed to achieve them.

So far, we hadthe pleasure of learning together and from each other about habit forming, email and project management, as well as Dual Career strategies.

Furthermore, it was inspiring to be able to talk to experts. We were coached in personal branding. Leaders from industry answered all our questions regarding transfer from academia to industry and two very inspiring Professors were sharing their insights into grant writing with us. In between the meetings full of learnings, we are engaged in transferring our knowledge into action, giving each other feedback on personal progress and supporting each other in an open exchange. Throughout the program, we highly value the mutual support and common growth. We acquired already within this half year many necessary skills to enter the job market that are not taught during our academic education. And there will be more to come…

Contacts: Linda Wehner, Francesca Pramotton

Stepping up the Ladder: Career development and work-life balance

How can we excel in our professional careers despite the challenges of the male-dominated STEM work environment?

How do we balance a successful professional career with our personal life?

How do other women succeed, and which competencies should we strengthen ourselves?

These were some of the questions that led us to form our peer group, with the intent to support each other and learn from role models. We are a 15-head diverse, international, multidisciplinary group across various Swiss research institutes, universities, and at different career stages and diverse family situations. Our group has collective experience in academic career development, funding acquisition, family management, dual career strategies, international mobility, and more. We support each other&#8217;s professional careers and personal development, based on trust, respect, solidarity, and confidentiality. We openly and freely share our expertise, provide feedback, and engage in developing various leadership skills and professional competencies together through a number of targeted workshops, networking activities, coaching and exchanges with senior mentors and role models. <br>We look forward to connecting with you too!

Contacts: Dr. Elisa Calamita, Dr. Yashoda Chandorkar, Dr. Simone Pieper

FLP Peer Mentoring Group Women’s Peer Mentoring Group at WSL

The Women’s Peer Mentoring Group (PMG) is a self-organized group of early-career female scientists at the WSL/SLF. Our aim is to support the career development of our members by promoting skills and networking, on the journey of becoming recognized scientists.

We have a strong network of affirmed female scientists and mentors that support us sharing their insights into a life in research and help us develop important skills, from grant writing to career planning. Numerous speakers and coaches are invited throughout the year, to stimulate discussions on important questions. The main focus for the year 2021/2022 is to address the challenges in the “decision making processes” that young female scientists have to confront in the uncertain times of Postdoc life. 

Last but not least, this group provides a space where not only to enhance skills and competences both form peer-based help and external support to achieve a fulfilling personal and professional life within or outside academia; but also, to provide a platform where we can support each other both emotionally and practically, striving for a healthier work-life-balanced and informed career path choices.

Contacts: Elisabet Martinez-Sancho, Valentina Vitali

Peer Group Unconventional Career Path

Industry or academia? – is the classic question about career choice following an academic position. But what if neither industry nor academic path is fully aligned with one’s values and preferences? Our group’s focus is to challenge this seemingly binary decision and look beyond it to explore alternative career options, with an aim to empower group members for pursuing an unconventional career path.

By meeting regularly with mentors and role models from various sectors, we delve into possible career directions outside the typical academic or industry settings, such as entrepreneurship, non-governmental organizations, public offices, free-lancing, science communication…

or having more than one role. Meanwhile, we work to develop individual career visions that match our personal interests and values. Through peer conversations and coach-lead workshops, we learn to recognize these values and suitable career choices and we identify personal obstacles and possible external challenges to overcome. We discuss and practise strategies to address them, developing skills and gaining confidence needed to venture out of the comfort zone and make a meaningful and fulfilling career shift.

Contact: Dominika Ignasiak

Planetary Equality – Self-development as a pathway to an equal scientific career

Our Planetary Equality group consists of 13 female early career scientists working in the Earth Sciences. In order to tackle the many challenges we female scientists face in the course of our academic careers, we chose “Self-development as a pathway to an equal scientific career” as the main theme of our peer-mentoring group. With this theme, we want to develop some essential skills, such as confidence and leadership, which will help us to battle the common stigma about women still prevailing in the academic community. In our monthly meetings and workshops we aim to educate ourselves on very fundamental topics, such as the leaking pipeline phenomenon, as well as on current topics, such as implicit biases. Our three mentors from diverse backgrounds, inside and outside of academia support us with this and help us to gain more insights into the everyday life of a female scientist. The main goal of our peer mentoring group, however, is to create a safe space to share experiences and to support each other in and also after the leaky pipeline program. We hope to reach out to other female scientists in our field and are open to any questions or suggestions via erdw.flp@sympa.ethz.ch.