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The Washington Statistical Society Mentoring Program

By meeting others in our profession we can quickly learn the ropes, advance our careers, and contribute to the statistical profession. To facilitate engagement and to encourage the transfer of valuable experience between Washington Statistical Society (WSS) members, the WSS started a mentoring program in 2015. (The program is also open to nonmembers, but they would eventually become WSS members through this program.) Membership offers many benefits beyond participating in the mentoring program. Matching mentors and mentees offers a great opportunity for mentees to develop as statisticians, mentors to give back to newer members of our profession, and for everyone to stay connected to the WSS. We are currently looking for mentors and mentees for 2018.

What are the benefits of a mentoring program?

The WSS Mentorship Initiative was inspired by and draws on the mentoring initiative underway throughout ASA that encourages chapters and sections to consider mentoring programs ( "President's Corner", AMSTAT News, February, 2015). It also suggests the initiation of a regular acknowledgement, such as the annual selection, of an outstanding mentor. The WSS is a leader in this regard having co-sponsored the Jeanne Griffith Award more than a decade ago. The potential benefits of participating in the program are described well by the ASA Committee on Applied Statisticians:

For mentors: (1) a connection with skills and perspectives of recently trained professionals, (2) development and enhancement of communication and leadership skills, and (3) satisfaction of passing on skills and knowledge that can enhance the career and personal growth of the mentee and contribute to maturity of the profession. The program may answer important questions including: How do you identify and introduce opportunity to others? How do you describe your own experiences to others to encourage them to take more strategic risks? How do you teach others to network effectively? Mentors usually get more from their relationships by learning something along the way about the new challenges of their mentees.

For mentees: 1) a role model, but more accurately a sounding board, for questions about methods of analysis and communication of results, 2) a source of perspective, encouragement, and motivation leading to greater self-confidence and esteem. Help in establishing professional development plans, career goals and acceleration of their achievement; and 3) a source of professional/social contacts with other applied statisticians in the field "plugs you into the power network". The mentoring program may answer important questions including: How do you create opportunities for yourself? How do you promote yourself? How do you network with others? How did you get to where you want to be?

For more information, go to the Committee on Applied Statisticians Microsite. You will need to login to the ASA Community. So, what are next steps?

How does the WSS Mentoring Program work?

If you are interested in being a mentor or mentee, first complete a simple application form (below). The information will be used to match a mentor to a mentee, taking into account their stage of career, area of statistical expertise, and goals for mentoring.

The WSS mentoring pairs can meet at the WSS holiday party on December 12, 2017. The committee and members of the WSS Board will be there with guidance and suggestions about productive and fruitful ways to interact. Program materials will be provided to help guide the mentors and mentees through potential conversations, although the topics discussed are up to the mentor and mentees themselves. The program will continue through the correspondence between the mentor and mentee for at least six months into the spring of 2018. Those in the program will meet either on the phone, on Skype, or face-to-face with their mentees a few times during the time period. The more mentors and mentees interact, the more successful the relationship is likely to be.

Participants will be asked to complete a short evaluation survey at the end of that period to learn and improve on the program. The main purpose of the survey will be to assess our mentor-mentee matching system.  The survey responses will be completely de-identified to ensure anonymity.  We encourage mentors and mentees to continue to meet after the formal program period if it is mutually productive.

If you are interested, but have questions about the program, contact one of the committee members:

Please fill out the participant form to join the Mentor Program