Mentoring Reflections: Carolynn Julien & Faye Farmer

As we approach a new year in the NORDP Mentoring program, we thought it might be beneficial for NORDP members contemplating becoming first-time Mentees or Mentors to hear from current participants in the program. With that in mind, the NORDP Mentoring Committee is pleased to share the inaugural installment in a series of “Mentoring Reflections” from mentoring dyads enrolled in the 2020-2021 NORDP Mentoring Program. The first of these dyads comprise members of the Mentoring Committee who agreed to share their insights. Mentors and mentees got together to talk about their experiences in the program and jointly wrote up responses to questions that were put to them.

The first in the series of Mentoring Reflections is from Carolynn Julien, who is the Associate Director, Office of Research Administration at Hunter College in The City University of New York, and her mentee, Faye Farmer, who is the Executive Director in the Office of VP Research Development at Arizona State University.

  • What influenced you to apply to be a mentor and a mentee for the 2020-21 NORDP Mentoring Program?

We got to know each other in the exceptional mentor training program in 2020-2021. Interacting in the training program allowed us to gather some insights about our professions, talents, and abilities. During a breakout session, Faye heard Carolynn mention a project she was working on, and Faye wanted to start a similar project. Taking the initiative, Faye reached out to Carolynn to see if Carolynn could mentor her through the project and Carolynn willingly accepted. Being in the mentor training program allowed us to comprehend the possibilities of broadening our circle of mentors. Once the project is successfully completed, we will further share our experiences about the project and the process.

  • What was your favorite part about your relationship?

We were both working on similar projects and used the mentoring relationship as a resource. We provide positive reinforcements and maintain regular check-ins that are easy and pressure free. What we learned during this relationship is that we are kindred spirits, and this also provided an opportunity for Carolynn to make a connection with NORDP and be of service to the organization.

  • What surprised you about being a mentor or a mentee?

The powerful personal connections were a surprise. We both have served as mentors and have been mentees and know that this is not always the outcome. We know that this mentoring relationship will continue to be an ongoing relationship after the 2020-2021 mentoring program ends.

  • How has participation in the Mentoring Program helped broaden your horizons about Research Development in general and/or affected your daily work in particular?

This program has taught us that it is crucial to recognize the qualities of people you need to enhance your journey as a RD professional. Our mentoring relationship has added depth to our lives by realizing the power of the RD network. The simple ask to be a mentor is an example of the power of the NORDP network.

  • Any words of wisdom or encouragement for those wanting to apply next year? Any other thoughts you would like to share?

Please take the leap to be a mentor or mentee; the rewards in serving as either are abundant. Our second piece of advice is to be open to the full potential of the mentoring relationship and to be receptive to all of the possibilities.

If you would like to share your experiences as a mentoring dyad, please contact mentorprogram@nordp.org.

Applications for the NORDP Mentoring Program for the 2021-22 year will be opening soon. Watch this space for more information in the coming weeks!

Written by Samarpita Sengupta and C. Scott Balderson