Inclusive Peer Onsite Distance (IPOD) Mentoring Program

Program Description 

 The economics profession has several mentoring programs that increase diversity.  The AEA mentoring program serves doctoral students and newly minted doctorates.  The Committee on the Status of Women in the Economics Profession (CSWEP) and the Diversity Initiative for Tenure in Economics (DITE) are mentoring programs for junior faculty.  However, there is no program that mentors undergraduates.[1] The Women's Institute for Science, Equity and Race (WISER) will partner with Howard's AEA Summer Training Program to create IPODs.  IPOD stands for inclusive, peer mentoring, onsite mentoring, and distance mentoring and is based on the Lewellen-Williams et al. (2006) POD model.[2]  IPODS will fill the gap by accepting undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, and master's level students who have completed Howard's AEASP.

IPODs will be designed to provide the flexibility and autonomy necessary to achieve several goals of the mentees and mentors.  Each IPOD will consist of two advanced-level and two foundation-level AEASP students, who will provide peer-mentoring.  Onsite mentoring will utilize the student's internship supervisor and AEASP faculty to provide guidance about the academic and research skills necessary to complete the Program.  Once the Program ends, onsite-mentoring becomes distance-mentoring, and the AEASP faculty is replaced with a senior economist.  Distance mentoring will focus on preparation for graduate studies – course and graduate school selection and GRE prep and networking via conference and workshop attendance and employment as a research assistant.

All IPOD members will complete a Mentee Needs Inventory (MNI) survey or Mentor Readiness Survey (MRS), which is designed to identify the strengths and weaknesses of IPOD members. The results from the surveys will be used to tailor mentor training and guide mentee professional development. All pod members will be informed and encouraged to read the research findings on mentoring from scholars like Stacy Blake-Beard, who has been a speaker at the Southern Regional Education Board and the American Sociological Association.  WISER will coordinate mentee and mentor training, administer the inventory surveys, and monitor the progress and coordination of each IPOD.

IPODs will be formed in April.  Each IPOD will be asked to do monthly check-ins, in person or via a video chat format, which will allow for the identification of visual cues about well-being that may not be evident from a phone call. Each IPOD member will be encouraged to provide mentorship of participants.

The partnership with the Women's Institute for Science, Equity and Race builds on their president, Rhonda V. Sharpe's 20 years of experience managing and creating formal and informal diversity initiatives in the economics profession. WISER will work with LinkedIn to create an online database of participants that can be leveraged for additional support.  This database will also be used to locate alumni to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Program in 2024.

Additionally, we welcome financial contributions to support the IPOD Program.

[1] The Sadie Collective’s website does not describe it as a mentoring organization.

[2] The POD: A New Model for Mentoring Underrepresented Minority Faculty, Charlotte Lewellen-Williams, MPH, Virginia A. Johnson, E.d., Linda A. Deloney, Ed.D, Billy R. Thomas, MD, MPH, Apollos Goyol, PhD, and Ronda Henry-Tillman MD; Academic Medicine, Vol 81. No.3/ March 2006 p. (275–279).

IPODS Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. Is this mentoring separate from the current mentoring work with the Pipeline program (for Ph.D. students/candidates) and DITE (for junior faculty)?

Yes.  The IPODs fill a gap in the economics mentoring pipeline, namely a formal program for undergraduates and master’s level students.  The IPODs are limited to students who are alumni of the AEA Summer Program at Howard University.

  1. The mentees are summer program participants, but will the mentoring continue beyond the summer, while they’re back in college (or work) during the fall and later?

Yes. Each student may be a member of an IPOD for a maximum of three years.  Students that enter a doctorate program will no longer be eligible for IPOD support and will be encouraged to join the AEA Mentoring Program, which supports doctorate students and newly minted economic Ph.D.'s. 

  1. For mentors, is it only our personal time and effort that is needed, or are you seeking any support at the institutional level for the mentoring pods?

  • If your employer does not provide financial/institutional support, you may still volunteer to mentor. 
  • Your participation as a mentor is independent of your organization.
  • Your participation as a mentor does not require you to make a financial contribution.
  • A company can be a corporate sponsor even if none of its employees are volunteers.  Corporate sponsorship will allow us to increase the amount of funding available for each student per year. 

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