Dr. Marlene Belfort’s mentoring philosophy is to nurture students by teaching them independence of thought and confidence. Her students describe her as unreservedly generous with her time and advice regarding career options and expectations. “What young scientists really need to learn is how to think independently,” says Dr. Belfort. To do this, she creates a laboratory environment where mistakes are viewed as a learning opportunity so students can freely “engage in an exploration.”
Her former Post Doc, Dr. Lydia Contreras, now a professor at University of Texas, remarks that “what is most unique about Marlene is that she is very transparent.” This openness is reflected in her willingness “to show you every step of the game.” Dr. Contreras goes on to say that “besides the fact that she is a great scientist, Marlene” demonstrates how to “connect with potential collaborators and write grants. It is very rare for an academy member to be so accessible.”
Dr. Belfort’s advice to fellow faculty members is to “have patience with students and to continue working with them through the highs and lows of their education.” She feels that to provide mentorship means “providing the right kind of attention over a long period of time.” Dr. Belfort has undoubtedly made a sustained commitment to the success of young scientists.
Apr 01, 2014