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REACH Mentorship Training

Twenty-five graduate students from Louisiana State University and University of Louisiana at Lafayette recently participated in a one-day inclusive mentorship training program at Louisiana State University. Hosted by Louisiana Sea Grant, the College of the Coast and Environment and the LSU Graduate School, the REACH program helps graduate students develop foundational skills for good mentorship and helps prepare them for professional settings.

REACH stands for:

  • Reflect on personal experiences contributing to yourself and group identity as it pertains to ability, class, gender and racial diversity
  • Engage in meaningful dialogue and developmental activities with your protégé
  • Advocate for inclusive environments that meet protégé’s needs and aspirations in their journey to becoming STEM scholars
  • Commit to providing resources, access and support that lead to equitable experiences affecting your protégé
  • Highlight your protégé’s successes and accomplishments in both the mentor-protégé relationship and larger community
Photo: Mentor Training

LSU College of Science Assistant Dean for Diversity and Inclusion Dr. Zakiya Wilson-Kennedy leads a discussion on inclusive mentorship at the August REACH Training.

At the training, students learned to work in diverse teams while doing research, increased their understanding of cultural competencies and developed strategies for more inclusive research environments. This formal mentor training, accompanied by a guided practicum, can help to create a better mentor-protégé experience for all involved and enhance the research process.

“My biggest takeaway was remembering that although we are researchers, we are also advocates for and leaders to our protégés,” said Vanessa van Heerden, REACH workshop participant and LSU Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences graduate student. “Our personal connection and relationship with our proteges play just as much of a role in their success as showing them how to create and undergo effective research. Fostering that relationship allows our protégés to feel included and heard, but also allows for us as mentors to push them and help them reach their full potential in the brave space that we have provided for them.”

“This training represented the first time that the LSU Graduate School was a part of the reach inclusive mentorship training. Historically it was the College of the Coast and Environment, the College of Science and Louisiana Sea Grant. We are excited to see how the involvement of the Grad School and the newer interest from other students around campus results in more inclusive mentorship in the future,” said Dani Dilullo, Louisiana Sea Grant Director of Education and Engagement.

At the conclusion of the training and guided practicum, students received a mentorship certificate that they can include on their resume or curriculum vitae.

The REACH Mentorship Training Program is offered each semester, stay tuned to hear about the upcoming training in the spring.