NORDP 2022 Plenary: Estrada Focuses on Kindness-Affirming Inclusion

Mica Estrada, NORDP April 28 Plenary Speaker

When someone is kind, they support the dignity of another person. When mentors are kind, they convey a sense of safety, which is good for learning, retention, and attention. NORDP conference attendees will learn more about the benefits of kindness and tips to bring new perspectives on kindness to our work.

“Kindness affirms inclusion,” says Dr. Mica Estrada, Associate Professor in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences and the Institute for Health and Aging at the University of California at San Francisco’s School of Nursing. She will be the NORDP 2022 conference plenary speaker at 11:00 a.m. eastern time on Thurs., Apr. 28, discussing “Why Kindness Is Important when Mentoring in an Interconnected World.”

As a social psychologist, Estrada studies how people integrate into their field. “We look at how quality mentorship helps students feel they can do the science, develop their identity as scientists, and how they share community values,” she explains.

Estrada says kindness has always been at the forefront of her scholarship. “At about four years old, my first memory was when a US ship went into Chinese water. I remember thinking, will there be a war, why do we hurt each other?” She continues thinking about that later question in her research, and chooses to focus on how people connect to each other, and specifically on kindness as the solution.

She compares her passion for kindness in mentoring to tending a garden. “Instead of spending time pulling weeds, I decided to put effort into growing what we want to reduce the space for the things we don’t want to grow,” she says.

Estrada will share findings from her years of research with NORDP conference attendees, highlighting results that are relevant to mentoring students and faculty or working with other research development colleagues.

“We’ll be talking about ‘quality mentorship’,” she says. The first focus is on instrumental support, or the “nuts and bolts” activities, such as how to access physical spaces or scholarly journals. This will differ in each situation. The second focus is on psycho-social support, such as empathy, listening, and emotional presence. Again, the details will differ based on the relationship, but the concept is important.

Estrada’s research is well funded by the NSH, NIH, and HHMI. She says she finds grantwriting to be a creative, labor-intensive challenge as she explains what she wants to explore while being concrete and persuasive. She draws upon past experiences with non-profit groups and work with development officers. She is also engaged in community-service roles, serving on the National Research Council Committee’s Roundtable on the Future of STEM Education; the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine consensus study on Advancing Anti-Racism, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in STEM Organizations; and a NASA Minority University Research and Education Programs advisory committee.

Estrada focuses her research and time on understanding how to increase inclusion and equity in our education system.  Her research methods identify educational interventions that facilitate integration into a community and increased engagement in the normative behaviors of that community for all students. She encourages us all to amplify what we want within our academic and professional environment, and she sees ample opportunity to do this.

“We’re at an interesting time in history,” she suggests. “COVID has shaken up the way we work. There’s an opportunity to not go back, but to go forward in a way that serves us as human beings.”

Follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest #NORDP2022 updates.

NORDP fosters a culture of inclusive excellence by actively promoting and supporting diversity, inclusion and equity in all its forms to expand our worldview, enrich our work, and elevate our profession.

Do You Like M&Ms? Meet the Mentoring Committee at #NORDP2019

Actual M&Ms will feature prominently at the multiple venues where you can engage with the enthusiastic Mentoring Committee!

Members of NORDP Mentoring have been working over the past few months to ensure that anyone with an interest in pursuing mentoring, being mentored, exploring peer mentoring, or in other facets of collaborating with others around professional development, will find a conference replete with diverse opportunities to delve into those topics.

Even before #NORDP2019 officially begins, the Mentoring Committee will host a Mentor/Mentee (M&Ms, get it?) Meet-up on Sunday, April 28, from 4:30-5:30 PM in the South County room, so newly matched Mentor/Mentee pairs can meet in person to get their mentoring relationship off to a solid start.  Past Mentor/Mentee pairs are also invited.

There will be chocolate, fun, and a game with prizes!

Throughout the conference, please join us at any of the following Mentoring Committee events, sessions and areas where we will have information, M&Ms, and Mentoring Committee members available:

Monday, April 29

Workshop:  An Overview of Onboarding Materials and Webinars Offered to Support Mentees and Mentors, 10:00 AM – Noon
An overview for all, from the mentoring curious to the veteran, of the complete set of tools available to assist NORDP members in mentoring, regardless of participation in the NORDP Mentoring Program

Workshop: Adapting the National Research Mentoring Network’s “Maintaining Effective Communication” Module to the RD Professional, 1:15 – 3:15 PM
Participants will use an NRMN training module tailored to RD to build upon their communication skills across diverse dimensions including various backgrounds, disciplines, generations, ethnicities, and power structures using evidence-based strategies. Case studies, group exercises, self-assessment, and rich reflective dialogue will reinforce concepts.

Tuesday, April 30

Mentoring Lightning Storm, 8:30 – 9:30 AM (Concurrent Session 1):  Ten 5-minute lightning talks on discrete topics in mentoring, ranging from “Transitioning from mentee to mentor” to “The mentor/mentee match algorithm/process revealed”

Idea Showcase mentoring program poster, 4:30 – 6:30 PM:  Get a quick overview of the NORDP mentoring program while noshing and making new friends!

Wednesday, May 1

Mentoring Roundtable, 9:30 – 10:30 AM (Concurrent Session 5):  An interactive forum that will give participants an intimate setting and a chance to guide the conversation about three mentoring topics in depth: Peer Mentoring, Transitioning from Mentee to Mentor, and The Value of Diversity and Inclusion in Mentoring

Informal Mentoring opportunities throughout the conference:

  • Mentoring Networking Dinners – On Monday, April 29 and Tuesday, April 30, at 6:30 PM, hosts will introduce you to great restaurants for fine food with a side of mentoring conversation.
  • Research on the Rocks – informally hosted nightly (Sunday, April 28 – Wednesday, May 1) by Mentoring Committee co-chair David Widmer in the Omni bar, ROTR will give anyone who wants a chance to unwind, socialize AND/OR talk even more about the benefits of mentoring.  Stop by after the networking dinners or, on Wednesday, after the Conference concludes, for some libation (cash bar) and information.
  • Career Center Mentoring Table – throughout the Conference, the Mentoring Program will have information available at a table in the new NORDP Career Center. Drop in, learn something about mentoring, and you might even be able to win a prize!
  • Talk to Us – Look for blue (or “marine,” if you need a mnemonic) Mentoring Committee ribbons during the Conference if you have a question or just want to make a conference buddy; we’re a friendly group!

We’re looking forward to seeing you at NORDP 2019! #MentoringMatters (M&Ms)