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CIERA recognizes the importance of extending mentorship beyond the traditional research-focused advising structures. A network of mentors and mentees provides connectivity and addresses diverse needs for our community. The Mentorship Action Team is committed to enhancing individual and collective well-being beyond research by fostering an inclusive mentoring network that is open to all CIERA members.

Beginning in 2021, CIERA’s Mentorship Action Team has worked with the CIERA community to build a flexible, volunteer-based, extended mentoring structure, which we refresh periodically. This network provides a wide range of important benefits to our community, including:

  • Linking mentees with additional mentor(s) to discuss topics not covered by the traditional research-focused mentor+mentee relationship
  • Creating more and stronger connections among CIERA members
  • Offering mentors a low-risk, low-stress training opportunity to enhance their mentorship skills

The CIERA community is invested in creating and sustaining effective mentoring relationships for all our members. We consistently have a significant fraction of CIERA members volunteering to serve as mentors, ensuring the needs of all mentees who request mentors are met, and at times, exceeded, indicating that these relationships are mutually beneficial.

In addition to matching mentors and mentees, the Mentorship Action Team also:

  • Provides materials that offer guidance in mentoring relationships (currently available to CIERA members on our Guide)
  • Organizes a monthly Mentoring Lunch Hour featuring relevant discussions and professional development activities (see below)
  • Serves as a touchpoint for any CIERA member seeking to discuss mentorship.

Current members of the Mentorship Action Team: Aaron Geller, Goni Halevi, Sanaea Rose, Tjitske Starkenburg

The Matching Algorithm

In 2021 CIERA members Alex Gurvich, Tjitske Starkenburg, and Aaron Geller developed and implemented an algorithm for building a flexible extended mentoring network for CIERA where anyone in CIERA can request additional mentoring from peers and/or more senior CIERA members. The mentoring in the network is completely volunteer-based, and any CIERA member can be both a mentee requesting mentors and serve as a mentor for others. The network is periodically updated to allow for the addition of new CIERA members and/or to allow for participants to change their needs and availability while preserving matches that participants would like to maintain.

The matching algorithm searches for the best network structure by optimizing a number of well-defined metrics based on the requests and preferences for mentors by prospective mentees, and the availability and preferences of prospective mentors. After matching, mentor/mentee pairs are encouraged to decide together what their frequency of interaction is and what the focus of their discussions will be.

In principle, this algorithm can be applied in any group or organization; it is available on GitHub, and we are happy to provide additional guidance.

Mentorship Lunch

  • Occurs the 1st Monday of the Month
  • 12:00 – 1:00pm in the CIERA Cafe

This event series is part of CIERA’s mentorship network initiative and hosts mentoring- and professional development-related talks, discussions, and workshops.

Upcoming Events


CIERA Mentoring Lunch

12:00 PM
1800 Sherman Avenue (8th floor, Cafe)

CIERA en español

May 07, 2024
1:00 PM
1800 Sherman Avenue (8th floor, Skylounge)

CIERA en español

Jun 04, 2024
2:00 PM
1800 Sherman Avenue (8th floor, Skylounge)