Issue 78 Contents
Can We Learn Networking from a Slime Mould
For quite a while I have been wondering what we can do to live up to our organisation’s name: Women in Science Enquiry Network. The key for us to be an Enquiry Network is to improve our lines of communication and networking.
Communication is key!
I learnt this from my first love in Science, the humble slime mould Dictyostelium discoideum, which I studied in my previous life as a developmental biologist!
Dicty cells — as we affectionately call them — can happily exist as single cell amoebae which live in the forest soil, feeding on bacteria. However, Dicty cells have long learnt the advantages of effective communication and networking! Dicty is a part-time multicellular organism. In times of trouble and famine, cells emit a chemical signal1 that coordinates the multicellular stage.
But this can be the topic for another chat, right now I want to concentrate on networking!
One suggestion I have for our network is to establish a mentoring program.
What is Mentoring and why might it be useful?
One definition I particularly like describes Mentoring as:
Developing Insight to turn Hindsight into Foresight2
This is a definition that I think is useful for WISENet.
We are a group of scientists with a variety of levels of experience and at different stages in our careers and we can come together as a group and turn our collective insights to turn hindsight into foresight.
Throughout my career I have profited immensely from the advice I received from my mentors and the way they helped me with insightful questions to find my own way.
I have also acted as mentor to graduate students and colleagues as well and have learnt so much in the process! In my experience it has been a win-win situation.
Ann Rolfe defines the role of the mentor as: “to build rapport, ask questions, listen and elicit the mentoree’s own wisdom. The mentor does not have to be older, wiser or have specialised knowledge, they only need to be skilled in leading a mentoring conversation.”
The idea would be to have a pilot program where we provide some training for mentors and we set clear expectations for both mentors and mentoree’s.
As members would you be interested in participating in such a process?
Reading Marily Cintra’s article (see this issue) I was inspired by the possibility of having some of our members acting as
Living Books, which I also see as another aspect of mentoring.
In Canberra we will be hosting the first lunch for the financial year 2008/2009 on 31st July 2008, where we will be discussing what we wish WISENet to be: our vision and mission. I encourage other groups throughout Australia to have a similar chat.
I look forward to hearing from you with your ideas:
P O BOX 1708
WODEN 2606 – ACT
Let us get together and live up to our name
Women In Science Enquiry Network!
Even slime moulds can do it!
1. cyclicAMP – cAMP is emitted
2. Rolfe Ann e-book – Mentoring Demystified – www.mentoringworks.com.au
Issue 78 Contents