Within AAG’s COVID-19 Rapid Response Task Force, members proposed the creation of a mentoring program in a time when students and colleagues may have limited access to previous peer and professional contacts and mentors, while also facing new challenges. In response, the AAG has created a new program with the goal of facilitating more connections in our community and keeping students and early career geographers energized and engaged with their geography education, research, and careers. While this program is in response to the pandemic and the related disruption of activities, the availability of volunteer mentors helps to serve those who at any time have limited access to geography mentors and professional support.

How does it work?  AAG members may volunteer to be a mentor by signing up online and providing information about their areas of expertise and interest. Students and early career geographers seeking a mentor can view the current list of volunteers and reach out through the provided contact information to start a dialogue. An active AAG membership is required for volunteer mentors only, not those seeking a mentor.

While the program only recently launched, over 40 AAG members have already signed up as mentors. Their specialty areas range the breadth of geography, and their interests and experiences can speak to diverse circumstances and challenges of students and early career geographers. Current volunteers note personal and professional experience with underrepresented groups, non-traditional students, switching careers, work/life balance, English as a second language, non-academic career paths, and more. Among all mentors is the shared desire to support our discipline and help others benefit from positive mentoring experiences like those that have helped them:

  • “It’s important to build community and capacity within our discipline. Mentoring helps to pay it back for all those who paid it forward.”
  • “I got where I am today because of the guidance and help of others.  I would love to give that back to our discipline.”
  • “It’s so important to have support networks, and I have also found that passing it forward helps me to sustain my own well being.”

For more information, to sign up as a mentor, or to view the list of volunteer mentors, visit aag.org/mentorship. For questions, contact us at mentoring [at] aag [dot] org.