The Kenan Program model does an amazing job of pairing educators with professionals and educators that will allow the professional growth of the fellow. We were fortunate in the Symbiosis in Soil internship to be paired with two amazing post doctoral scientists who were able to lend their expertise in their field of study. I have experienced similar models in the past, but the incredibly positive aspect of my experience is that the mentors planned with intention and thought in order to include us in the process and problem solving. Many times there is a disconnect because the science at different levels is so far removed or the scientists in a research setting want to simply continue with their research.
Julie and Julia, our two mentors planned each day so that we were able to participate in the study, make decisions about the process, and problem solve as challenges arrived. I have mentioned in previous blog posts that many of my aha moments came when I realized the pace and strides that research, equipment, technology, and knowledge have taken since I began my career. The evolution has been surprising, inspiring, and even alarming as I see the applications that the science can be used for. I was able to immerse myself, through the partnership and mentoring relationship, in a research opportunity that gave me lasting take aways that I will use throughout the rest of my career.
I am hopeful that the relationship will continue beyond the Kenan Fellowship. One barrier that may pose a problem for our particular group is that both of our mentors have taken positions away from the museum and in other states, but due to availability of social media and technology my mentors have continued to support and respond to activities taking place in the classroom. I am a better educator for having had them in my journey.

Mentoring Milestones