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Brooke Montgomery, Ph.D., (speaking, front) said the TRI workshop exceeded her expectations.

Mentoring Workshop Enriched by Diversity of Faculty Participants

The strong mentorship she received as a junior faculty member and TRI KL2 Scholar motivated Brooke Montgomery, Ph.D., to attend TRI’s Research Mentoring Workshop this summer.

The workshop was led by TRI faculty Mary Aitken, M.D., and Beatrice Boateng, Ph.D.

It did not disappoint.

“It absolutely exceeded my expectations,” said Montgomery, an assistant professor in the College of Public Health and president of the UAMS Minority Faculty Development Caucus, where she promotes the mentorship of minority faculty and students.

The day-long workshop was led by veteran mentors Mary Aitken, M.D., M.P.H., and Beatrice Boateng, Ph.D., both nationally certified mentor trainers. Aitken also co-directs TRI’s KL2 Scholar program and Boateng is TRI’s evaluation director.

The workshop was focused on group discussion of cases with common issues that occur in mentor-mentee relationships. Both trainers and participants felt the group interaction was strengthened by the diversity of the 11 attendees.

“I think the varying experience and academic ranks made the workshop a rich experience,” Boateng said. “The cases we presented were new territory for some but not others, which made for a dynamic discussion.”

“Hearing all the different opinions and experiences of the group made it a really fun process,” Montgomery said.

Having participants learn from one another was a primary goal. “It’s not a didactic or passive experience,” Aitken said.

More workshops are on the horizon. One is being planned for the NIH Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) in Childhood Obesity Prevention, which has a focus on mentoring junior faculty. UAMS’ Judith Weber, Ph.D., who directs the COBRE, said her participation in the workshop inspired her to request one for the Center’s researchers.

“Regardless of experience, everyone can benefit from learning new skills and brushing up on old ones,” said Weber, a professor in the College of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics. “We look forward to conducting this workshop in the fall!”

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