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Mentoring for science students broadens their career choices

Birkbeck's Mentoring Pathways scheme opens up opportunities for students across our science departments.

Two Birkbeck students talking in a cafe.

Since so many Birkbeck students study with us to gain the skills needed to move to new industry sectors, or develop their current roles, mentoring is a key part of the careers toolkit offered at Birkbeck. Mentoring focuses on personal and career development with the mentor helping the mentee to reflect on their experience and abilities to develop skills that will help them reach specific goals. The value of mentoring students and early career professionals has long been recognized in the world of business and entrepreneurship, but it can be just as effective and inspiring for students studying the sciences.

Mentoring is a key enabler for increasing diversity in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) roles and Birkbeck’s Professor Carolyn Moores reports from a session she attended at the Science Policy and Outreach conference (SpotOn17) on mentoring for early career science researchers: ‘When navigating a new career stage, it is easy to have your confidence thrown by the unfamiliar: environment, people, jargon, cultural norms for a particular sector. Talking things through with a mentor can really help demystify these things, allowing you to focus your energy where it can really make a difference. Science research itself requires so much focus that it is easy to forget to take a step back from time to time to consider the bigger picture of career development - conversations with mentors can really help with that. It’s also important to remember that no single mentor will meet all your needs, so find the right team of trusted advisors to support you, including your peers.'

How mentoring works at Birkbeck for final year students

Birkbeck’s Mentoring Pathways scheme pairs students in their last year of undergraduate study with alumni volunteers. The meetings usually take place once a month and run throughout the academic year (usually November to June). Science students have now started to participate in the scheme and have reported on the good fit between mentor and mentee and how the mentoring sessions provide practical guidance that can be applied in the workplace.

Further Information

What to do next if you think you could benefit from the Pathways scheme

If you’re a second year student on any of our undergraduate science programmes in biological sciences, earth and planetary sciences or psychological sciences, and you’d like to be part of the scheme in 2018/19 in your final year, please register your interest by contacting

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