What Is Mentoring?
In today’s scientific enterprise, one must always be expanding one’s knowledge set and skill base to remain competitive. Coupled with the extremely long training periods required to obtain many specialized scientific jobs, ‘mentoring’ has become almost a marketing buzzword to describe benefits implicit in professional organization memberships, graduate programs, and workplace environments. However, mentoring is a much more complex concept, with roots in ancient history and literature. In Greek mythology, Mentor, son of Alcumus, was, in his old age, a friend of Odysseus. When Odysseus departed for the Trojan War, he asked Mentor to be in charge of his son Telemachus and of his palace. When Athena visited Telemachus, she took the disguise of Mentor to hide herself from the suitors of Telemachus' mother Penelope. As Mentor, the goddess exhorted Telemachus to stand up against the suitors and to go abroad to learn out about his father.