This update appeared in the recent newsletter for the Comics Studies Society, but we wanted to also share it here since it is particularly pointed to graduate students in comics studies.
Over the summer, shortly after the 2020-21 GSC Executive Board met for the first time, I started working on something that I have wanted to do since joining the Board in 2018: the Mentorship Program. The goal of the program is to create professional connections in the field between members of the Caucus and more senior members of CSS. With the help of GSC and CSS Executive Board members past and present, I created two forms, one for graduate students and one for mentors.
The former asked graduate students to list the discipline in which they are earning their degree and their research interests, rank how important having a mentor in their discipline would be, rank how much engagement they expect from their mentor, and check off options from a list of expectations concerning writing and networking. The latter asked potential mentors to list their own discipline and their research interests, select whether or not they would be willing to work with a mentee in another discipline, rank how much engagement they expect to be able to offer, and check off options from a list of expectations concerning reading and networking. The forms are meant to help pair graduate students with mentors not just according to their research interests but also by what they both expect from the mentorship.
In August, these forms, the Mentorship Program Applications, were made available to CSS’s membership for the first time. There were nearly twice as many mentor applications as graduate student applications, and I am grateful to everyone who applied to be a mentor. As a graduate student member of CSS, I was proud to see senior scholars in the field offer their time and experience to junior scholars. As of this newsletter, all applicants have been contacted and pairs have been made, and each graduate student who applied has been paired with a mentor who shares a significant research interest as well as expectations for the mentorship. The applications themselves are now part of the GSC’s digital archive, with the intention of opening applications again in the future.