Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Next Match Phase for the Mentor Program

Submitted by Emily Malouf and Kaylene Ready on behalf of the Mentor Program Sub-committee of NSGC’s Membership Committee

As the current Mentor Phase of the Mentor Program comes to a close, Megan Grove, a graduate student and mentee in the program, shares this about her experience:

“Participating in the mentor program has been a fantastic experience. Whether she was providing me with examples of personal genetic counseling experiences, lending advice or tips with regard to important milestones in training and beyond, or simply being someone I could talk to and debrief with; my mentor has been an incredible supporter and teacher. I am grateful for the opportunity to participate in this program, and have learned a lot in the process!”

Next month brings another opportunity for NSGC members to participate in a mentoring relationship:
The NSGC Membership Committee announces the next match phase for the Mentor Program begins in June 2011.

The program is designed to enhance networking opportunities for the NSGC’s members, for both students and practicing genetic counselors. Mentors can offer support, guidance, and insight while mentees can seek advice from peers, learn about a new specialty, and network professionally. Mentees can choose from a variety of selection criteria to find a mentor who best meets their needs and self-match to a mentor through an online matching website. Discussion topics are also provided on a monthly basis to facilitate continued communication.

While having a mentor through the Mentor Program is valuable for genetic counseling students and new graduates, it also has been a great resource for working genetic counselors wanting guidance in their current role, starting a new position, or considering a specialty change.

Mentors have also benefited from participating in a mentoring relationship. For busy counselors who are uncertain about the benefit of serving as a mentor, consider Holly Zimmerman’s experience:

“Being a mentor gives you the opportunity to reflect on your own career and experiences as well as the chance to renew your passion for the profession through the enthusiasm of someone new entering the field. I have thoroughly enjoyed mentoring a first year student and hearing her sincere excitement as she journeys through her training to become a genetic counselor."

If you are ready to get involved in the Mentor Program, mentor sign-up begins June 1, 2011 and mentee sign-up begins June 16, 2011! Mentors and mentees of all ages, years of experience and areas of specialty are needed to make the Program a success. The time commitment for participation can be as short as four months or as long as twelve months, and mentors and mentees will decide how often they will contact one another. Look for e-Blasts in June announcing enrollment periods.

To join the NSGC Mentor Program, please visit

Thursday, May 12, 2011

NSGC's New Discussion Forums

This is a guest post from NSGC Communications Committee Chair, Amy Sturm.

For those of you who don’t know me, I am the current Chair of the NSGC Communications Committee. One of the Committee’s unofficial charges this year was to head up the transition from the current NSGC listservs to a newer technology called Discussion Forums. We established the Discussion Forums Task Force after the AEC in late Fall 2010, and have been working since then to learn how the forums work, test their functionality, and develop Frequently Asked Questions and How To’s Documents for the NSGC membership. These resource documents are now on the NSGC website under Member Center after you log in:
Task Force members also recently recorded short webinars to guide members through topics including how to navigate the forums, set your own personal forum settings, receive messages in digest format if preferred, post and reply to forums, include attachments, search forums, and other enhanced features. These webinars are also live on the NSGC website under Member Center.

I have to admit, at first I wasn’t sure what to expect from forum technology, since I had never used forums previously to using the NSGC forums. My husband frequents forums daily, such as, in order to search for the best online deals, coupons, and discounts on computer equipment among many other products; however he also works in the field of Information Technology, so I wasn’t immediately convinced that forums would work for me. I am a member of five NSGC SIGs and also receive the general NSGC listserv, so receiving listserv messages in digest format is very important to me as well as easy posting and replying capabilities!

Luckily, I found out that the new forums technology is not all that different from the current listservs that we have all become accustomed to over the years. For example, if you choose to subscribe to an individual forum, such as a SIG-specific forum (e.g. Cardiovascular Genetics SIG Forum), you will automatically receive all new posts and replies to that forum in your email’s Inbox. You can also sign up for daily or weekly digests if this is more manageable for you compared to receiving each post and reply as an individual email.

Another very nice feature of the forums is something called “threaded topics”. This means that all posts and replies to that initial post are organized together under something called a discussion thread. This allows for a very organized view of forum topics and improved ease of tracking and being able to follow the conversation.

While the archives from the current listserv, which date back to 2006, will no longer be accessible, please remember that you will be able to post a new topic to the Discussion Forums at any time and receive responses from your NSGC colleagues with the most up-to-date information. The deadline to access the current archives will be extended to June 30, 2011. Please refer all questions to the Executive Office at