A new mentorship program for female biology students

Kiera Raymond, Lode Writer

The Future Female Biologists Mentorship Program (FFBMP) is a project that fourth-year student, Jenna Disser, has created and will be implementing in the upcoming fall semester (2022). As a Medical Laboratory Science major herself, she draws her inspiration from similar programs. “I have seen so many incredible programs for young girls wanting to go into computer science or engineering, that it inspired me to provide a similar program for those interested in biological sciences.” 

The FFBMP is a program where local, high school female-identifying students will be paired up with a female student whose major is one of the following: Biological Sciences, Ecology and Evolution Biology, Human Biology, Medical Laboratory Science, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, or Bioinformatics. 

Disser then goes on to explain what the program will entail: “The pair will decide on a topic, and together work on a semester-long poster project that will be presented at a mock symposium at the end of the 14 weeks. The poster will cover categories such as: the history of the chosen topic, the impact or issue of the topic, what research is currently being done on the topic, what the future of the topic looks like, etc. I hope to be able to offer the program twice over the course of the school year. This would give the student the opportunity to present at one or both of the symposiums, and provide flexibility for the mentor.” 

As the program is still in the developmental stage, not everything is set in stone, but Disser hopes the pairs will meet every other week, for at least an hour. Mentors will be required to “instruct the student how to dive deeper into their topic, while providing thoughtful, provoking questions for the student to ponder. Resources regarding the chosen topic will be provided and/or located together. The mentor will also take the students through the steps of how to construct a research poster.” 

This program is important for young females, as it will be an environment where they can develop their inner confidence and trust within themselves. By pairing up with an older female role model, it provides a judgment free zone where they are open to ask questions, be creative, and explore topics that interest them that they may not be able to during normal school hours. 

If you are interested in being a volunteer mentor for this startup program, contact Jenna Disser [email protected]. Information on how to be the best mentor for your student, timelines, and expectations of you will all be conveyed closer to the start of the semester.