Statistics and Data Science Education Section Invites Mentoring Program Applicants

Nicole Dalzell

The ASA Section on Statistics and Data Science Education is inviting both mentors and mentees to participate in its mentoring program. The goal of the program is to connect mentees with mentors across the community, providing a (free) resource for advice about teaching strategies, course development, the academic job search process, and the tenure process. Meetings are usually conducted via phone calls or video chats on a monthly basis and are personalized to the needs of each mentee/mentor pair.

Mentees can be at any stage of their career, as long as they are interested in discussing aspects of teaching and scholarship with experienced statistics and data science educators. And mentors can be statistics and data science educators at any stage of their career, as long as they are willing to share their advice. All educators in the broader statistical and data science community are welcome, including K–12 schools, AP programs, community colleges, undergraduate and graduate programs, industry, and government. Graduate students are also welcome.

A Personal Journey
I had the opportunity to participate as both a mentee and mentor in this program and found it beneficial. I joined the mentoring program as a mentee in 2016, the first year the program was offered. I was in my final year of my PhD program and seeking mentoring during my job search process. What should I expect during an on-campus interview? What could I ask about during a negotiation?

I was matched with Matt Hayat, who answered these questions and more. During our phone calls, Matt was a calm and supportive presence, and he helped me during the entire job search process. Our meetings took place online about once a month and concluded once I secured my current job. Even though our formal mentoring relationship has ended, Matt and I continue to keep in touch and have met in person at both JSM and USCOTS.

At the end of the mentoring program, I received a survey asking if I wanted to participate again, but this time as a mentor. Eager to pay forward what Matt provided for me, I signed up and was matched with a PhD candidate seeking advice about the job market. During this mentoring relationship, I worked to provide the same guidance and support Matt gave me.

This year, I am serving as a mentor to a fellow professor, discussing strategies for teaching statistical writing and computing, as well as course design.

Both sides of the mentoring relationship are rewarding, and I have enjoyed the chance to build relationships with others in the community.

The Process
Both mentees and mentors must complete the form and join the ASA Section on Statistics and Data Science Education; instructions for joining are on the form. The form will ask questions designed to help create productive pairings. The matching results are generally announced in July.

Questions about the program may be sent to the 2020 committee chair of the mentoring program, Jennifer Green.