Since its inception in April 2020, Cross Campus – Yale’s mentoring, networking, and community building platform – has created thousands of connections, between alumni and students and with the university. One of the most successful Cross Campus programs is mentorship – a series of one-to-one matches between students and alums to share experiences and impart wisdom.
Recently, one of those pairings – alum Gregg Keaney ’05 PhD (Chemistry) and graduate student Maria-Elena Liosi ’22 PhD (sixth-year graduate student in Chemistry) – reconnected to discuss their mentor-mentee pairing, what has made it so successful, and the benefits of connection.
Below is an edited version of their exchange:
Maria-Elena: I applied to be part of the Cross Campus Mentorship Program around March of 2021. So far, I have been connected with two alumni: Gregg was my first mentor – our official Cross Campus mentorship has ended, but we’ve continued our mentor-mentee dialogue – and Miho Kaneko ’15 PhD is my current mentor.
Gregg: Maria-Elena’s tremendous enthusiasm for science was evident from our initial conversation. I was excited to hear about her interest in making a positive impact on patients’ lives through a career in drug discovery in the biotech/pharmaceutical industry. Having decided to pursue such a career in drug discovery after receiving my PhD in organic chemistry for the same reasons, Maria-Elena and I were well matched to discuss her career interests and various career trajectories.
Maria-Elena: Gregg and I were introduced through Cross Campus right before I started applying for jobs. Having to make a decision for your career after the PhD can be really stressful. In my case, this time was full of uncertainty for the future, which was accentuated due to the pandemic. Ever since we met, Gregg has been fueling me with positive energy. He has been always available to meet, give me feedback, and generously provide me with his advice. Knowing that you have an advocate outside of your academic environment is a great privilege. Our interactions and discussions have been an amazing support for me and a big relief to my graduate school hardships and the job application anxiety.
Gregg: Maria-Elena took initiative to determine potential opportunities which suited her skills and interests, crafted her CV, and prepared her job interview presentation.