A pillar of academic and research excellence: The enduring influence of mentorship in science

Colin L. Soskolne

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    Why mentorship? Regardless of one’s focus in science, instilled intellectual honesty and rigour are the fruits of proper mentoring. The importance of intellectual rigour through one’s period of training – by example – cannot be overstated. Proper mentoring includes not only the ethically correct application of learned skills, but, at least as importantly, collegiality through respectful and honourable conduct, and of friendship through a shared set of values and interests aligned with the pursuit of intellectual honesty. The lessons learned through proper mentorship are essential and should be passed on to the next generation of aspiring scientists if the sciences are to flourish. Humility and excellence in our pursuit of truth, towards an ever-greater understanding of our world and its place in the universe, are perhaps the two most pertinent principles associated with proper mentorship. Curiosity, passion for, and excellence in applying research methods, as well as diligence in leadership by example are all essential characteristics found only in the best of mentors. The influence of these characteristics on those entering the professions creates a generation imbued with a striving for excellence. Those fortunate enough to have been at the right place at the right time, and to have been able to recognise the opportunity to pursue intellectual honesty with rigour, will know that science is their calling. Proper mentorship thus provides the model exemplar for the next generation of scientists.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)12-13
    Number of pages2
    JournalSAMJ South African Medical Journal
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2016


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