In 2013 a group of female junior faculty and professional staff affiliated with STEM fields at Syracuse University attended an honorary lecture by Mimi Koehl, UC Berkeley, which covered both academic topics and a description of a peer mentoring group which she had been part of for many years. The attendees were inspired to convene a peer mentoring group as Koehl described and as outlined in the book Every Other Thursday: Stories and Strategies from Successful Women Scientists by Ellen Daniell[1]. The group has a stable membership of ten women in the fields of aerospace engineering, architecture, biology, chemical engineering, chemistry, civil engineering, library science, mechanical engineering, physics, and psychology. At the outset, the group's members were assistant professors on tenure track, assistant teaching professors, and assistant librarians. The group now consists of tenured professors, associate professors, librarians, and two of the University's first teaching professors that have been promoted to the associate level. This paper will explore best practices for forming and maintaining similar peer mentor groups. Topics covered will include group composition, meeting structure, process for new membership, and group expectations. Themes that the group has grappled with include teaching strategies at various scales in STEM, mentoring graduate students and postdoctoral researchers, cultivating healthy relationships with colleagues and collaborators, navigating university politics as women in STEM, optimizing service commitments, achieving work-life balance, and developing and executing institution- and position-specific strategies for career advancement. The paper will reflect on the outcomes and the role of the group as a critical strategy to foster a supportive work environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1087
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jun 22 2020
Event2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference, ASEE 2020 - Virtual, Online
Duration: Jun 22 2020Jun 26 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering


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