Recent NIH Funding to Support Improvement & Research of Graduate Mentoring

The National Institutes for Health awarded supplemental funding to UGA’s T32 Training Grant, Genetics Training Program, directed by Dr. Kelly Dyer in the Department of Genetics. This award is the second supplemental for the Genetics Training Program; both supplements are to support the improvement of graduate research mentorship. Postdoctoral associate, Dr. Heather Fedesco, is leading the effort in collaboration with Dr. Erin Dolan, Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology. Their work will significantly expand capacity to understand what is working (or not) in graduate research mentorship at UGA, especially in STEM disciplines, and to make improvements over time.

With the first supplement, Dr. Fedesco created a database of mentorship assessment tools, which she refined to generate two tools – one for graduate students and one for research advisors. Now she is pilot testing the tools along with reports and recommendations that graduate students and their advisors will receive, which can be used as a launch point for discussion between graduate students and their advisors about how to maximize the quality and function of their working relationship. The second supplement will support Drs. Fedesco and Dolan in pilot testing strategies to help graduate students and their faculty advisors improve their mentoring relationship over time and tracking improvements over time using the mentorship assessment tools they have developed.

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