The Jim Thrall, MD Mentoring Award was established to recognize and honor mentoring contributions of faculty who have demonstrated sustained interest and success in mentoring junior faculty members and trainees. Last month, the Martinos Center’s Jyrki Ahveninen, PhD received the award for Research Faculty. The honor was, of course, entirely well deserved. Here are just a few of the comments from those who nominated him.
“My future career as a physician-scientist has permanently been impacted by Dr. Ahveninen’s mentorship. He has given me the ability to develop a foundational understanding and technical skillset in neuroimaging acquisition and analysis.”
“Prof. Ahveninen’s impact on my career has been critical in determining my current and future career. By creating a supportive atmosphere and respectful lab environment, he has boosted my self-esteem and believes in my skills to become a successful scientist.”
“He is always willing to listen to my thoughts and career plans and has introduced me to several people that are important to my career. Prof. Ahveninen is a model supervisor, and I believe that his upstanding actions and affirmation of my experiences hold considerable weight.”
We checked in with Dr. Ahveninen about his experiences with mentoring. Here’s what we learned.
Tell us about some of the mentoring you’ve done in your lab.
We do basic research on how the human brain enables perception, attention, and memory, and we develop new ways to investigate these functions. My colleagues I work with to achieve these goals include graduate coordinators aiming at graduate schools, postdoctoral fellows pursuing future academical careers, and junior faculty members in the process of launching their own research programs. We consist of cognitive scientists, electrical engineers, biomedical engineers, computer scientists, and (current and future) MD scientists.
What do you enjoy most about mentoring?
Being able to work with, and to learn from, highly talented and motivated individuals with very diverse backgrounds and professional specializations; having the opportunity to witness their achievements and moments of success.
Do you have a philosophy of mentoring?
Ideally, mentoring is about helping your colleagues find their own way and realize their potential as individuals, in the pursuit of common longer-term scientific goals as a team. My continuing goal is to develop my listening, communication, and focusing abilities to achieve this ideal.