APA prizes the up-and-coming generation of psychologists and, over the years, has created several programs to support them. APA’s Early Career Psychologists (ECP) program, for example, offers a wealth of resources, including training and award opportunities, a network of like-minded psychologists to connect with, insights on how to pay off debt and balance career and family, and much more. APA also supports graduate students through APAGS—the American Psychological Association of Graduate Students—which supports opportunities for students through scholarships and awards, advocacy work and development activities.
APA’s support for the next generation is also evident in its mentoring awards. Most of APA’s 54 divisions as well as psychology’s state, provincial and territorial associations have developed mentoring awards.
Mentoring is a relationship—with all the joys and challenges integral to such interactions. Relationships matter and can form a key source of commitment to a discipline or professional group.
Business schools have increasingly become a major source of theories and research on career mentoring. It is not surprising that the key researchers have primarily come from a social psychology orientation. These colleagues have deconstructed the mentoring process from the perspectives of the mentor and the mentee. Their work informs both individual and group/project-based mentoring.
For the mentor, the joy of bearing witness to an evolving professional life is priceless. My heartfelt thanks go out to all the psychologists who mentor—they nurture the critical pipeline of talented people who make psychology a major influence in science, practice and education across many areas of public interest.
However, mentoring should not simply focus on relationships within the discipline of psychology. I challenge you, my colleagues, to connect to other disciplines, engage in collaborative projects, address complex issues, and do so while sharing your interest and wisdom with the next generation. Those relationships will radiate the influence of our field across interdisciplinary contexts.
Psychologists already partner across a range of settings. The possibilities for service and consultation between ECPs and more experienced colleagues are numerous.
Mentoring can occur among peers as well as those at different professional developmental stages. It can be mutually rewarding. It may begin as a one-way relationship and blossom into reciprocity.
Being connected matters. Give it a try.
For more information on mentoring, see the APA guide Introduction to Mentoring: A Guide for Mentors and Mentees at www.apa.org/education/grad/mentoring.aspx.
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