Mentoring is the second core BAF program, given the legacy of Bill Anderson and his mentoring efforts over many decades. For under-represented students, there is often a sense of isolation at many majority institutions and this isolation can drive vulnerable or struggling students to leave a program or even the field. The simplest and most effective solution to this problem is access to and availability of a mentor who is capable of relating to that student and their challenges.
BAF is dedicated to supporting its Fellows by working in concert with the students to identify mentors and establishing the framework for the mentor and mentee in order to maximize the relationship. Each BAF student has a mentor either at their home institution or elsewhere, but accessible via Internet and by phone. Mentors and mentees strive to meet in-person at least annually at BAF workshops or its annual meeting, but both are expected to be opportunistic and take advantage of any circumstances that can bring them together over the course of a year.
Currently, the students, in consultation with the BAF director, identify at least three individuals who are leaders in the discipline in which that student is studying. The BAF director and volunteers reach out and develop the connections to establish contact with one of the three identified leaders.
The BAF Mentor Network is a geographically distributed and professionally and academically diverse group of experienced individuals who are committed to supporting individuals from underrepresented groups as they work to complete graduate programs related to hazards, disasters and emergency management. Mentors are willing to leverage their knowledge, skills, ability, connections and time to supporting this mission.