Mentor/Mentee Spotlight: The NORDP Mentoring Program in Five Questions featuring Jan Abramson

Name: Jan Abramson
Institution: The University of Utah
Are you a Mentor? Mentee? Both? Both


1. What influenced you to become a mentor or mentee?
I love to learn – and have found mentoring and being a mentee a pathway to continual learning. Throughout my career, many people have formally and informally mentored me ~ and when I finally realized that I too could share a listening ear, an open mind, encouragement and support, I actively ‘became a mentor.’ The delight that I take (and receive) in helping others grow sustains me. Mentoring became a passion, and I have deliberatively sought out opportunities to serve as a mentor. AND of course, becoming a better mentor means finding people to mentor me along that path.

 2. What surprised you about being a mentor or mentee?
The intrinsic rewards. The feel goods. The moments of reflection that being a mentor and a mentee bring. That I can see that the effort I put into the relationship makes a difference. AND I can determine what the effort and time commitment is.

3. How has participating in the NORDP mentoring program impacted your day-to-day work?
When I was new to the field of research development, I learned pragmatic skills from my NORDP mentor. Later, I transitioned into a role with a campus-wide mentoring program. Sharing thoughts, ideas, concepts and challenges with someone doing similar work helped me grow in my confidence. Now that I am working in a central office, and involved in research infrastructure support, I am able to support research development on campus, and in the profession by mentoring up and coming professionals. Time with my mentors and mentees is a highlight of my day. I get to think outside the policies and procedures where I am currently spending so much time.

4. What is one way being in the mentoring program has helped increase or broaden your understanding of research development?
The mentoring program has allowed me access to what I call ‘the best brains.’ Those involved in the mentoring program want to give back – or learn – and bring so much to the table. Being involved in the mentoring program has solidified my commitment to research development as an integral component of research.

5. What other thoughts would you like to share about the program?
One thing I appreciate is when the mentee drives the relationship. That helps me help them; by targeting their needs, I get to share what I can, and remember where I have come from. Also, a standing monthly appointment gives me something to look forward to; I learned early on that whenever I reach out a hand to help someone, I benefit too!


The NORDP Mentoring Program
The NORDP Mentoring Program offers a formalized pairing process to match a mentor and a mentee with similar professional interests and different levels of experience in order to frame a relationship that offers mutual guidance and support. Once pairs are matched, the mentoring process is an informal one based on the needs of each individual pair.

Posted on behalf of the Mentoring Committee

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