Director's Corner

Theodore Hodapp, APS Director of Education and Diversity

When many people are asked who made a big difference in their life, they often point to a teacher, a trusted friend, or another individual who was able to help them navigate a tricky situation. That sort of encouragement, mentoring of sorts, is what helps many people succeed — advice and care to help navigate difficult times and unfamiliar challenges.

Now, how do we, practicing physicists, help students who have talent, but may not have the same opportunities, advice, or encouragement that we had? To try and address this question, the APS recently launched a national effort to link mentors (like yourself) with undergraduates who can benefit from guidance to help them navigate the challenges of earning a degree in physics. The National Mentoring Community (NMC) is hoping to link a large number of underrepresented minority students with physics faculty members who are willing to spare a little of their time to help these students. The APS program is an effort to understand how to bring this experience to the students who need it, and to help potential mentors understand how to do this effectively.

If you are interested in helping underrepresented minority students — a population where we think the need is the greatest — get this assistance, please consider signing up as a mentor with the NMC.  APS will help provide some guidance on effective practices, and has travel funding to bring together a collection of mentors and their mentees this coming October. We are registering faculty members who can mentor students (and mentees if you have one), putting together a group of experts on mentoring physics students for the fall meeting, and collecting good practices to help all of us do a better job in this important service to the community. The meeting will be 9-11 October 2015 in Miami, FL, and a link for the meeting and to become a mentor can be found on the National Mentoring Community website.

Thank you for being willing to help these students succeed.

Disclaimer – The articles and opinion pieces found in this issue of the APS Forum on Education Newsletter are not peer refereed and represent solely the views of the authors and not necessarily the views of the APS.