Fellows Survival Guide

Choosing A Mentor

Start thinking about your scholarly activity and begin the interview process early. Pediatric Infectious Diseases offers many track and research options (discussed in details below). It is very important to choose the one that fits your goals early. Your mentor can be a faculty member from pediatric infectious diseases, or from any other department/division in your institution (whether it is in microbiology, immunology, pathology, adult medicine etc.) or even outside of your institution if your particular interest lies in a specific topic where expertise in your institution is limited. Take your time with your interviews, make sure you understand the mentors’ projects and how you can take part in what they have, or maybe even start a whole new project with them. Most importantly get a feel if you and your mentor are a good fit!

Although it can feel awkward to inquire about funding, this is a critical aspect of selecting your mentor and understanding the options you will have to support your research. Be sure to inquire about your mentor’s accessibility; many senior mentors will spend a lot of time traveling and will not be able to directly oversee your research. It is important to directly oversee your research. It is important to investigate the availability of junior mentors to help directly train you and oversee your research.

Speaking to current trainees and asking about the career trajectories of former mentees of any prospective mentor can also provide valuable insights. The mentor/mentee relationship is a very important one, as it will guide the rest of your fellowship and help you mature!

After you select your mentor, you will sit down with your program director and select a scholarship oversight committee (SOC) with which you will plan to meet at least twice a year. The SOC’s job is to help guide your scholarly activity, address weaknesses that can be worked on, and help you improve your work. You may meet with them more often if need be. Your SOC will also be responsible for signing off on your project and personal statement, which is sent to the ABP for you to graduate fellowship and take the subspecialty boards. 

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