A Few Good Mentors

Share This:



The Director's Space

A Few Good Mentors


Sean Bentley, Director, Sigma Pi Sigma and Society of Physics Students

If you are like me, you’ve always known the best things to do, the right things to say, and life has always been easy. Oh wait, that hasn’t been true at all—certainly not for me, and likely not for you either.

While my ultimate decisions in life have been my own, I have been very fortunate to find people along the way on whom I could rely for advice. One in particular stands out: a professor of mine when I was an undergraduate who has since become both a colleague and friend. He guided me through my BS and MS. He has been there for me countless times throughout my PhD and career. Without his advice I can’t imagine I would be where I am today.

Most people who find success in their lives, personally or professionally, can point to one or more mentors who helped them. As much as we would sometimes like to think of ourselves as “self-made,” we tend to be better off when we are able to stop and listen to the wisdom of those who have traveled the road we’re on before.

Sean Bentley with Professor Steve Watkins from MS&T, at a conference in 2005Think back to when you were a college student. Finding a mentor at that difficult stage of life, as one starts a career, can be particularly valuable. Can you identify someone who helped you through the challenges of college and joining the “real world?” For those recently inducted members who may still be students, hopefully you have someone like that in your life right now!

While we are never too old to benefit from a mentor, we eventually reach a point at which it is time for us to pay it forward and serve as a mentor to someone else. In my first letter to you in Radiations last fall, I said that one of my goals was to give you a way to reach current students and help them in their professional development. Then in my letter this spring, I called for us to work together to be a force for good.

Now I am bringing these two things together with an actionable request. Sigma Pi Sigma needs a few good mentors (or, more accurately, we need many wonderful mentors from many career paths). Working with our sibling organization, the Society of Physics Students, we will soon launch a new online mentoring community. The idea is to allow current undergraduates to connect to alumni members for advice on careers. While they will of course have their professors, physics majors go on to a wide array of careers, and who better to give them insights into these possibilities than those who have experience in those areas—YOU!

Answer the call. Become a mentor for our wonderful SPS student members, so that they can be as lucky as you and I have been.

More from this Department

The Director's Space