With the advent of Covid-19, many students around the globe are coping with new realities about the future workforce, trying to adjust their skills to meet the demands of a more digital economy, but also struggling to find work and meaningful research opportunities due to the impossibility of meeting people in person due to the current health crisis.
With summer now fast approaching, it is a great time for students in the middle of their studies to take a break and potentially look at new opportunities and research interests. Impactio provides a platform for students to simply see what’s out there in terms of laboratories around the globe doing cutting edge research. Even if students aren’t interested in joining a laboratory, the exposure that Impactio can provide to help widen a student’s perspective on an issue area is significant in itself.
At universities, especially in North America and Europe, finding a research assistant program with a professor who can act as a mentor, is an invaluable experience and one that can transform a student’s career, and also perception of the world when they work in a new, cross-cultural environment with professionals from different backgrounds and walks of life. To quickly summarize, here are some of the main benefits of mentorship in academia:
1. Finding a good professor whose research inspires a student to think broadly, and challenges their conventional views about a topic
2. For resume building and professionalism. Students who undertake research assistant positions are increasingly valued as having some type of “expertise” about a given topic which can go a long way in job interviews and establishing yourself
3. Database experience—Hard skills when it comes to operating software and learning how new computer programs can go a long way for potential employers looking for the exact same hard skills
4. Interpersonal skills—Working with an established professor in a competitive field can be tricky, but in doing so and navigating through a research position, students can increase their sociability in diverse settings
5. From the mentor perspective—mentors can delegate tasks to their research assistant to lighten their workloads
6. Learn decision-making skills— Research assistants eventually have to “go their own way” on different projects, often dealing with real-life political and economic factors under consideration. Exposure to different research jobs will test an individual's ability to think critically under many different scenarios.
Seeking for Mentorship with Impactio
Discovering a mentor or a researcher engine on Impactio improves the academic opportunities and the attractiveness, as it rivals other networks like ResearchGate and Orcid. The “Discover a Researcher” page on Impactio allows users to search a worldwide extraordinary researcher by a researcher's name, institution, research field, and even search with keywords. Users can view the researchers' profiles and send them messages to build connections. In this way, mentor-mentee relationships could be established by joining the Impactio community.
Mentorships, like postings on other job boards essentially, will also help students during critical hiring periods such as in the Fall or Spring semesters. These opportunities might count as unpaid internships, but still offer the possibility for a student to step out of their comfort zone.
For researchers who are willing to be the Mentor, reduces some ambiguity about what laboratories are looking for, as sometimes just the description of what the lab is doing will not be enough. Therefore, Impactio provides a Laboratory platform to let researchers create their web portfolio for labs. The Lab platform includes more information, such as lab research, projects, activities, and publications. With Impactio Laboratory, researchers can market their labs with ease.
If universities and academicians alike can utilize Impactio and Impactio Laboratory platforms as networking, profiling, and citation management tools, it could also birth new successful partnerships between universities with similar research interests, with similar scientific programs.