WormBoard: Announcing the C. elegans Community Mentor Match Program

I am very happy to announce roll out of the C. elegans Community Mentor Match Program v1.0! Many thanks to the other members of the first year mentor match committee (Meera Sundaram, Bruce Wightman, Heather Bennett, Adelita Mendoza, Brent Derry, Sander van den Heuvel) and to WormBoard. 

Please see the Program Plan for updated logistics, instructions, and timeline for both prospective mentors and mentees.

Please also take 5 minutes now and do the following:

(1) If you are willing to act as a mentor, please fill out this short prospective MENTOR survey form. We would like to post the list of prospective mentors by Dec 1 for the January 2021 match.

The survey includes a place for you to indicate your desired level of involvement.

Prospective mentor lists will be updated and made public on WormBase annually.

The survey collects information that will help prospective mentees identify potential mentors and will help the mentor match committee make informed matches.

(2) If you or someone you know is NOT in academia and may be interested in acting as a mentor for worm people considering non-academic career paths, please put their name and contact info here so that we can send them the prospective MENTOR survey.

(3) If you or someone you know is a retired lab head who may wish to act as a mentor, please put their name and contact info here so that we can send them the prospective MENTOR survey.

(4) Please forward this message to anyone you think may be interested in the program as a mentor or mentee. Mentees should watch wormbase announcements. A MENTEE form will be announced in December, as soon as the prospective mentors are in place.

With best wishes,

Jane

(acting president of WormBoard)

PS: you can always find the latest WormBoard info on the WormBoard Home Page, in the WormBase News section, links from the WormBase Community tab, by following WormBase on Twitter, or simply by searching the web for “wormboard elegans”.

Promoting equity in the C. elegans community

From the WormBoard:

Some of you have received this message already via the “LabHeads” or other mailing lists. We are now aware of many lab heads who are not on the list. If you are a PI and did not receive this message from the LabHeads list on July 9, please request to join the LabHeads Google Group.

This message is meant to be shared with the entire community. Please read and forward this message to everyone in your lab. If you have comments about the content of the message or the survey, please email Jane Hubbard.


The last month has highlighted the undeniable history of violence and inequity toward the Black community. We acknowledge that there is structural racism throughout society, including in science. The C. elegans International Advisory Board (aka WormBoard – you can find a list of the current WormBoard representatives here) and the international C. elegans community is committed to fighting all forms of racism and discrimination, and to promoting equity and a more inclusive scientific community.

To this end, WormBoard recently met and discussed immediate, near-term, and longer-term actions to combat racism in our community, as outlined below. Real change will require a sustained and continuous effort from the whole community. We need your help to achieve a diverse, fair, and inclusive C. elegans community that will serve as a model for science at large. 

Immediate: Now – End of August

Initiative #1: C. elegans community-wide climate survey
In an anonymous survey, we ask about your experience and opinions, and we invite you to comment on several initiatives. You and all your lab members (undergraduates, graduates, postdocs, technicians, senior scientists, staff, etc.) are encouraged to respond. 

Please complete the 2020 Worm Community Survey (one response per person).
Survey Response closing extended to August 10, 2020

Analysis and report will be transmitted to the community: by August 31, 2020
Current survey committee: Ahna Skop, Dana Miller, Judy Yanowitz, Brent Derry, Te-Wen Lo, Swathi Arur

Initiative #2: Worm Mentoring Match
WormBoard will develop a system to facilitate career mentoring by matching senior mentors with postdocs and junior faculty, prioritizing mentees in underrepresented groups. Those interested in participating as mentors or mentees can indicate their interest on the Worm Community Sign-Up Sheet, or by contacting Jane Hubbard, Brent Derry, or Sander van den Heuvel (current WormBoard PI/Faculty mentoring committee).

Initiative #3. Communicate resources that facilitate undergraduate (UG) research experiences
In collaboration with WormBase, we will develop a website that highlights resources provided by different societies (GSA, SDB, ASCB, SACNAS, ABRCMS), institutions, and local institutions to underrepresented UGs and host PI labs. 
Please contribute to this resource, by adding information to the Resource for Undergraduate Research Experiences document or by contacting anyone on WormBoard.

Near-term: September to December 2020

Initiative #4. WormBoard membership will be diversified and expanded
We will change the board to ensure ongoing representation of our community.  We will aim to include underrepresented groups, a range of institution types, and various training levels. 

Longer-term: now through December 2021  

Initiative #5: Make regional, topic, and international worm meeting (IWM) participation more inclusive, including new travel award initiative
We will work on making talks, sessions, and workshops more diversified, and will explore new sessions on teaching and outreach. Initiatives will be developed to showcase undergraduate research and to facilitate undergraduate, graduate, and postdoc interactions. Travel awards will be made to underrepresented students to attend meetings. Additional details will follow to the community, but we envisage collaborating with programs such as summer REU/SROP/SURP and meetings such as SACNAS and ABRCMS to identify potential awardees. 

Initiative #6: Create a comprehensive and user-friendly C. elegans Community WormBase Website Portal to facilitate these and future initiatives 
Portal to include jobs postings, mentor match (#2), new opportunities, speaker info, the undergraduate resources page (#3), and more.