Mentoring Reflections: Carolynn Julien & Hollie Fuhrmann


Welcome to the third installment of Mentoring Reflections! This time, we chatted with Carolynn Julien at Hunter College, CUNY who served as mentor to Hollie Fuhrmann at the University of Utah. 

If you have not yet, don’t forget to register to participate in Celebrating Mentoring Days on June 29th and 30th. The two-day program will be packed with enlightening mentoring focused sessions, roundtables and networking events. 

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

In 2013, Carolynn received a mentor from the NORDP Mentoring Program. Her relationship with her mentor is still ongoing and has become a very important relationship in her life. Due to the importance of this relationship, she decided to #PayItForward, as the Mentoring Committee likes to call it, and be a mentor. For some time, Hollie has wanted to engage in a formal one-on-one mentorship relationship with someone that was not also her director/supervisor. She really wanted to develop a relationship and expand her network. The NORDP Mentoring Program provided that opportunity for them both.

  • What was your favorite part about your relationship 

Carolynn has found the mentoring relationship to be extremely fruitful. The biweekly meetings with Hollie have been the highlight of her week! Although she and Hollie have different backgrounds and experiences, they have connected in a special and unique manner. Hollie really didn’t know what to expect going into this experience. It is important to note that they started to meet and build their relationship at the same time that world was shutting down due to the pandemic and as issues related to racism, discrimination, and violence were becoming something we could no longer ignore. Their mentoring relationship became a unique moment to examine and discuss these important issues because how can we successfully serve and advance the research missions of our institutes without acknowledging and addressing equity, diversity, and inclusion. They are both thankful for the opportunity to discuss and guide each other on this journey.

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

Carolynn was surprised at how satisfying and enriching their relationship has become and didn’t expect the mentoring relationship to develop into such a personal relationship. Their mentoring relationship has developed so organically and been so responsive to their lived experiences during challenging times. It has also been very personal. Hollie didn’t expect to connect with Carolynn on such a deep and personal level, especially over Zoom. In the beginning, Hollie saw their meetings as a work-related task. Now, she really looks forward to them and sees them as a break from work or as an opportunity to share and reflect on work and life more broadly.

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

In the last several months, Hollie and Carolynn have discussed several work-related matters and their mentoring relationship has been an invaluable resource. In addition, their shared experience and their unbiased, trusted advice has helped them navigate being RD professionals and allowed them an opportunity to celebrate themselves as women leaders.

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

Just do it! And, be open to the experience! You will be surprised by the connections and the progress you will make as individuals and as a team.

If you would like to share your mentoring story, please contact mentorprogram@nordp.org.

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