Partnership for the Advancement of Cancer Research Project
The success of the NMSU/FHCRC collaboration is dependent on the building of a cancer research infrastructure at NMSU. To achieve that, it is necessary to recruit and expand the number of junior investigators who choose to enter the field of cancer research. However, junior investigators are unlikely to grow into successful scientists without effective mentoring. Mentoring is the process whereby a less experienced person receives guidance and leadership from a more experienced and knowledgeable person to fill a specific role—in this case, to become an established, successful scientist. To facilitate that process, every junior investigator supported by this U54 award has been assisted in the creation of a Career Development Plan that outlines his/her overall career goals relevant to their project under the U54, and how s/he will attain those goals. Junior investigators also meet with their mentors to discuss reasonable goals, activities that will facilitate the achievement of those goals, and outcomes intended to assess whether the goals were achieved.
In addition to the junior investigators’ individual mentors, a mentoring advisory committee was formed to oversee the career development of all junior investigators in the U54. The U54 Mentoring Core consists of four senior researchers from the FHCRC and two from NMSU. Members of the committee were carefully selected to take into account age, ethnicity, diversity, and scientific achievements in order to capture the level and interest of our junior investigators. As a group, the mentoring committee members have experience in a vast variety of content areas and with a great number of diverse grant mechanisms. Simultaneously, committee members have had experiences that are likely to be encountered by scientists beginning their career. This will allow junior investigators to relate to the committee and the committee to provide appropriate mentoring for almost all situations. This committee offers a tremendous resource to the junior investigators in this U54.