Planting seeds with EGU’s mentoring programme

Planting seeds with EGU’s mentoring programme


The 2023 General Assembly is gaining momentum. Did you ever consider taking part as a mentor (or mentee) in EGU’s mentoring programme? If you ask me, it’s a nice opportunity to increase the odds of being a positive influence to someone, and you may learn some things in the process too.

Who’s your positive influence?

Here’s a mental exercise: name 3 people who positively influenced your career choices.

Most people have no problem coming up with some names, ranging from inspiring school teachers, partners, to strangers who just showed you things in a different light.

Some of those personal encounters may even appear brief and trivial, much akin to the little effort it takes to plant a seed. But in hindsight, it’s fascinating to realize that a few individuals influenced you to apply for a certain study or job, or write that email which sparked a collaboration.

I really like the idea that people have positively inspired others, even though they might not be even aware of their contribution.


Matchmaking in EGU’s mentoring programme

Because the General Assembly brings together scientists from all over the world, EGU’s mentoring programme is the perfect opportunity to increase the odds of being a positive influence to each other. As a mentor you get matched with mentee, where possible with similar interests but usually unknown to you. The intention is to make them feel welcome and help them out in navigating a huge conference, and the networking opportunities it offers.

During the course of the General Assembly, you catch up a few times, chat about  things like science and (often) PhD life, and you can (and should) introduce them to some colleagues.


Weaving your meetings through your schedule

Looking back at my own experience as a mentor, participating was enjoyable and no-strings-attached effort. I originally signed up for the programme because I sympathized with the idea of being more welcome to first-comers, and remembered being overwhelmed when I first attended my first conference.

I was initially a bit worried about whether this would take too much of my time. But in hindsight, this is something you can relatively easily plan in between your other activities, especially if you take advantage of the breaks and poster sessions. Furthermore, it pays off to meet in the beginning of the conference to align each other’s expectations and exchange numbers.

Overall, it made the GA experience better as my mentees turned out to be pretty good sources for  take-home messages and pointers to interesting research, which I would have missed otherwise.


More mentors needed!

Unfortunately, the amount of mentees who are interested in being paired with a mentor usually exceeds the amount of mentors. So if you’ve done a few General Assemblies before, please do consider joining in as a mentor.

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Roelof Rietbroek currently works as an assistant professor at the University of Twente in the Netherlands. His research involves the use of geodetic (satellite) data to study sea level and the changing water cycle of the Earth. Roelof Rietbroek is involved as the deputy geodesy division president, and has been acting as EGU's early career's scientist representative in 2017-2018. Roelof can be found on mastodon (https://fediscience.org/@roelof) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/r_rietje).

Rebekka is a researcher at Lantmäteriet (The Swedish Mapping, Cadastral and Land Registration Authority). She is working on glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA) modelling with a focus on stress field changes and model development, and is involved in the development of a European velocity model as part of EUREF (Regional Reference Frame IAG Sub-Commission for Europe). Rebekka is also the chair of a IAG (International Association of Geodesy) Joint Study Group on GIA. She received her PhD in 2013 from the University of Calgary.

Öykü is a PhD student at Politecnico di Milano (Italy). Her research focus is the static and time-variable gravity field recovery from satellite data and also local gravity field modelling. She is working on mitigation of temporal aliasing for future gravity mission concepts with quantum technologies. Tweets as @callmeboyk, posts as @oykukoc.bsky.social

Andreas is a Postdoc at the Institute of Geodesy at Graz University of Technology in Austria. His research focuses on static and time-variable gravity field recovery from satellite data and applications of gravity data in other Earth science disciplines like hydrology and oceanography. He obtained his PhD in 2020 from Graz University of Technology and tweets as @akvas_esm

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