Discussion Topics

Mentees, are you not sure what to talk about with your mentor? Mentors, are you looking for articles to share with your groups? Check out the links below for some curated articles relating to the following discussion topics:

Advisor / Advisee Relationships

Maintaining a positive relationship with your advisor and navigating difficult conversations with them can be an incredibly difficult part of graduate school. Here are some resources on managing up and maintaing positive relationships in lab:

Careers Outside Academia

More and more often, PhD students are leaving academia after graduation, and these paths are no longer "alternative careers." Still, it can be difficult to get advice about transitioning out of academia; hopefully these links help:

Choosing a Lab

Many first year students may want to discuss choosing a lab, and adviser, with their mentor. The links below suggest things to consider when deciding on a lab:

Developing Confidence

Confidence is a key factor to success both in and out of the lab, but can be difficult for women in male-dominated careers. Below are links that discuss how to develop confidence and assertiveness in the workplace.


As students near the end of graduate school and start to think about next steps, negotiating position and salaries is a common topic of discussion. Below are some resources that discuss the art and science of negotiation.


Knowing how to network successfully is an important skill to learn during graduate school. The links below provide some tips on networking, such as developing your "elevator talk". Your mentor may be able to help you practice your "elevator talk" and give suggestions about how they network.

Combating Bias in Lab

Women working in male-dominated spaces often face sexism and bias at work. Here are some resources to help handle these situations and combat bias in lab:

Women in Leadership

Developing and asserting one's leadership style is often challenging, but especially so as a woman in a male-dominated field. The links below can serve as a starting point for discussions with your mentor on how to be a leader in your career, either as a PI or outside of academia.

Work / Life Balance

Graduate school tends to blur the lines between work and life to the point where they may feel like one and the same. These articles might help you find the correct balance and a happier experience in grad school:

Other Helpful Links

Here are some other articles, blogs, and more that we've compiled and might be helpful for sparking discussion within your mentoring groups. If you come across any materials that you think would be helpful to others, please send them to us at hgwisementors@gmail.com!