Last week I met for the first time with my Aurora mentor, Caroline Wilkinson. It was very exciting to meet her where she works, a building dedicated to the arts, as in her work she combines Art and Science.
Before the meeting I spent some time thinking about what do I want from the Aurora mentoring programme: I would like to have an external view on the shortcomings holding back my career. This is a bit vague, but it is difficult to narrow down a mentoring objective, before meeting your mentor in person. I wonder now whether it might be best to keep a broad and loose objective in order to leave room for issues that might come up in the coming months and for what my mentor might bring to our meetings.
Since my meeting with my Aurora mentor, I have also been busy preparing for the first Aurora day. There are 4 preparatory excercises and the one that made me think the most was: “Reflect on women who inspire you”. This list varies depending on what I am reading or working on, although some names have remained a long time. This is my list as of right now:
Almost all the women I find inspiring right now are (or were) white. I think this is mostly due to a lack of exposure to the work of non-white women, in fact, of women that are not cis-gender, white and with able bodies. If I look around I do not see many non-white women doing science. However, I also have my biases and it is possible that I have a tendency to look up to those (apparently) closer to myself.
Awareness is the first step to change, so maybe I now need to remind myself to ask who inspires me and if I can look beyond those ‘around’ me.