Student and Scientist connect at AGU's Fall Meeting.
A student (right) and scientist (left) connect during AGU's Fall Meeting. Credit: Gary Wagner.

At AGU’s 2015 Fall Meeting, 100,000 pushpins secured more than 10,000 posters as the posters’ authors, along with speakers at 48 concurrent oral sessions, unveiled new scientific findings to the meeting’s 25,000 registrants. The world’s largest gathering of Earth and space scientists ranks as the premiere place to present research, learn about novel discoveries, and network with colleagues. It can also be overwhelming, especially for first timers. Seasoned AGU members can provide guidance and reassurance to students and early-career scientists navigating the meeting and can give back to the scientific community in the process by serving as mentors during Fall Meeting.

This year AGU is expanding its mentoring programs at the meeting. In its second year, the Undergraduate Mentoring Program (UMP) provides one-on-one, Fall Meeting–long mentoring support for undergraduates. New this year are Career and Research Advice Mentorship (CRAM) sessions, which will allow students and early-career scientists to sign up for one 20-minute session during “office hours” at the meeting with a seasoned AGU member. A third mentoring program, in its second year, is sponsored by Sharing Science. This program provides in-meeting guidance to graduate students interested in balancing a career in science with engagement in science communication and outreach.

Undergraduate Mentoring Program

At the 2015 Fall Meeting, AGU piloted the Undergraduate Mentoring Program with 20 mentor-mentee pairs, modeling the program after meeting mentoring programs at other scientific meetings (e.g., the Ecological Society of America’s Strategies for Ecology Education, Development and Sustainability (SEEDS) Program). Given the success of the program, this year 50 undergraduate students will select a mentor from a pool of established Fall Meeting attendees for a weeklong mentoring experience. International attendees are encouraged to apply. After attending two group events (with some planning and free refreshments), UMP mentors and mentees meet for 30–60 minutes each day during the week to visit a scientific session, attend an event, network with others in the exhibit hall, share a meal, or just chat about the students’ goals and questions.

“I’m so glad I was able to help a student navigate her first AGU meeting, and not only be a mentor for her at the meeting but also in her journey as a scientist.”

Both mentees and mentors gain from participating in the Undergraduate Mentoring Program. A former mentor noted that “I’m so glad I was able to help a student navigate her first AGU meeting, and not only be a mentor for her at the meeting but also in her journey as a scientist.”

An undergraduate said, “My mentor gave me great advice for getting what I want out of large scientific meetings such as AGU, as well as advice for my future academic pursuits. I would say the mentoring program helped me achieve my goals for the meeting.” Learn more about the opportunity to serve as a weeklong mentor for an undergraduate and apply by Wednesday, 10 August, 11:59 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT). The mentee application for undergraduates will open in mid-August.

CRAM Sessions

A new mentoring opportunity this year at Fall Meeting is Career and Research Advice Mentorship sessions, which are geared for students and early-career scientists. We are recruiting scientists and professionals of all levels to serve as CRAM mentors at Fall Meeting. Mentors fill out a short application and then volunteer 1–2 hours of their time to host office hours. Conversations may range from suggestions for applying to graduate school to career guidance. To participate as a mentor, please complete this short application by Tuesday, 4 October, 11:59 p.m. EDT. The sign-up slots for students and early-career scientists will open in late October.

Sharing Science Mentoring Program

AGU’s Sharing Science Program will also offer a mentoring program at Fall Meeting. This program is designed for graduate students interested in balancing a career in science with engagement in science communication and outreach. In addition to providing guidance for individual students interested or already involved in doing both science and outreach, the program aims to help build a support network within the scientific community for those students. Mentor applications will open mid-August.

See Table 1 for a summary of these mentoring programs.

Table 1. AGU’s Mentoring Programs Offered at Fall Meeting This Coming December
 Undergraduate Mentoring Program (UMP)Career and Research Advice Mentorship (CRAM) SessionsSharing Science Mentoring Program
Program styleMentee selects mentor for weeklong one-on-one pairingMentee selects mentor for one 20-minute session with mentorConnects graduate students with scientists experienced in science communication and outreach
For potential mentorsEarly-career to senior scientists, faculty, or professionals who have attended Fall Meeting

Applications are open and due 10 August

Early-career to senior scientists, faculty, and professionals

Applications are open and due 4 October

Established scientists with a background in science communication and outreach

Applications open mid-August

For potential menteesUndergraduate students

Applications open 12 August to 7 September

All students and early-career scientists

Sign-ups will open late October

Graduate students interested in building their network in the science communication field

Applications open late August

Call to Action

Mentors at Fall Meeting can be instrumental in introducing students to advisers and future collaborators. Mentees can also benefit just from having a familiar face among the thousands of attendees at the meeting. Volunteers can range from early-career scientists to senior scientists and AGU honorees. Because AGU members span a wide variety of careers and research fields within Earth and space science and because student interests vary widely as well, we need broad representation from the sections and focus groups among our mentors.

Give back to a young AGU member, and learn more about serving as a mentor in the Undergraduate Mentoring Program (apply by 10 August 2016), CRAM sessions (apply by 4 October 2016), or the Sharing Science mentoring program (open mid-August). Decide which program works best with your Fall Meeting schedule and apply today!

—Bethany Adamec, former Education and Public Outreach Coordinator; Claire Wilson, AGU Education Intern; Olivia Ambrogio, Sharing Science Program Manager; and Pranoti M. Asher, AGU Education and Public Outreach Manager; email:


Adamec, B.,Wilson, C.,Ambrogio, O., and Asher, P. M. (2016), Volunteer as a mentor at Fall Meeting, Eos, 97, Published on 19 July 2016.

Text © 2016. The authors. CC BY-NC-ND 3.0
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