Sii Athena SWAN Mentorship Scheme

Welcome to the Sii Athena SWAN mentorship scheme, the aim of which is to improve career development for academic staff at grade 6 to 8 within the School of Infection & Immunuty.

This developmental programme aims for mentors to assist mentees in making the best decisions for their future and to aid their growth and skills development.

We have developed an online training course to provide you with guidance and support and make the expectations for mentees and mentors clear.

We expect all mentors and mentees involved in the scheme to complete the online course, which is hosted on Moodle. Once you sign up to the scheme, we’ll send you a link to the Moodle course. 

On the Moodle site, you’ll find an example mentorship contract that we recommend mentors/mentees work through together when you first meet, some useful videos, and some short activities to help you get the most out of being a mentor or mentee.

We recommend that you revisit this page from time-time to refresh your thinking about mentorship. 


If you are new to the Institute or have not been involved previously, please complete the mentor request form and email mentorship co-ordinator Megan MacLeod to advise her you have signed up.


If you are at grade 8 or above, please consider becoming a mentor. As well as providing a fulfilling experience, your participation will support Sii’s aim for all staff to be involved in our Athena SWAN action plans.

Interested? Please fill in the be a mentor form and email Megan.

Time Frame

We recommend that, in the first instance, you plan to meet for one year and then review whether you consider it beneficial to continue working together.

If you would like to switch to a new mentor after this time, please email Megan. Similarly, please let her know if either mentee/mentor are not finding the match useful.

We hope that you find the scheme helpful.

Guidance Videos

  • Webinar from Dr Amy Iversen, the co-ordinator of the Academy of Medical Sciences Mentorship scheme:


  • Melanie Wass describes the five key characteristics required for successful mentorship:


  • Melanie Wass discusses the GROW model of mentorship:

Mentorship Scheme Testimonials

Considering whether the Mentorship Scheme is for you? You can learn about some of our previous participants' experiences in their testimonials below.


a head and shoulders shot of Emma Melchor

Emma Melchor

Reason for signing up?

I applied to the mentorship scheme in 2016, after a year of working as a postdoc at the then-Institute of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation. Having moved from Spain I did not know many people in Glasgow and as it was my first postdoc I thought it would be a good idea to think about the future of my career.

How was the experience?

One thing that helped me to make the most of the programme is to understand that the mentorship process is not something passive. In fact, it is an opportunity to have an honest conversation with yourself and to better understand what you want to do with your career. Once you know this, your mentor can help you to achieve it.

In my case, when in one of our meetings my mentor asked me what would be my perfect job, I timidly brought up my thoughts about illustration. I had previously realised that I really enjoyed the visual part of my work, creating presentations and illustrations and at that time I was collaborating with one of the university’s student magazines. My mentor helped me to explore this option more, putting me in contact with people with similar careers. This support was extremely helpful as it gave me the tools to make an informed decision and to take the necessary moves towards my goal. And what it is more important, it gave me the confidence to do it.

Outcomes and reflection

Nowadays, I work as a freelance illustrator, creating visuals such as presentations, scientific posters and infographics for a medical communications company. I have also collaborated with a science communication website and with a wellbeing app, and I recently obtained funding to develop a card game for children to introduce them to the concept of climate change inequalities. I don’t know what the future holds, but I will always be extremely grateful for this programme and my amazing mentor.

To see Emma’s illustrations and learn more about her role, visit her website:


a head and shoulders shot of michaela conley

Michaela Conley

Reason for signing up?

As a postdoc approaching the end of my third contract, I wasn’t sure what career path I wanted to pursue. I had attended all the seminars and prepared my CV for either an academic or industrial role but I wasn’t certain what direction I should take. For this reason, I signed up to the Athena Swan Mentorship Scheme and was paired with an amazing mentor.

How was the experience?

During our mentorship meetings we discussed my current thoughts on career pathways and my mentor regularly suggested thinking points and aspects to go away and look into further, even if it was just having a conversation with somebody or asking colleagues about their experiences. These thinking points, however obvious they may seem in hindsight, really helped me to see that I am capable of pursuing a career in either direction but they also helped me to make the huge decision to leave academia.

I have always loved my role as a postdoc (and PhD student) so was very reluctant to take the plunge into the unknown (industry). At the same time, I wasn’t sure that obtaining a fellowship and becoming a Principal Investigator was right for me either. Without pushing or forcing any decisions, my mentor asked questions and provided thinking points that inadvertently made me realise what was right for me but I had been reluctant to commit to.

Outcomes and reflection

My mentorship experience has been invaluable in improving my self-confidence and in helping me to decide on the right career path for me. My mentor was always very friendly and understanding and did not try to sway me towards either career path but provided perspective, facts and presented her own experiences to aid in my decision making. At the start of the process, I wasn’t sure what I would get out of the experience but I soon realised it was the best thing I had done in my career. I have since secured a new role as a senior scientist in industry, which would not have occurred had I not received the amazing guidance from my mentor who I cannot thank enough for all of the support and advice she has offered!


A head and shoulders shot of Dr Carmen Huesa outdoors and wearing a red coat

Dr Carmen Huesa

Reason for signing up?

I joined the University of Glasgow in June 2020. After many years as a postdoc, I managed to acquire an Early Career Fellowship. Despite my many successes in my early postdoc years, I was struggling to progress. When I received this fellowship, I viewed it as my last chance to develop independent research in academia. The fellowship was only for one-and-a-half years, which meant that I had to do everything I could towards the next stage, to be able to fund my own research. I knew I needed guidance and I signed up to the mentoring scheme

How was the experience?

I was matched to Professor Maggie Harnett and this was such a perfect match, as Maggie had not had a classical career path in academia and had an understanding of my struggles. With a very strong 'focus on submitting this paper and writing a fellowship', Maggie sent me on a path to obtain the Career Development Fellowship I now hold. Being someone who is easily immersed in the science and forgets about the rest of the world, having this very clear directive was crucial for me. I had heard it before, but for some reason, this time, it hit home. Maggie helped me with specific advice on how to write a better grant, from ideas to formatting, in a way that I understood exactly what she meant. I also received advice for the fellowship interview, although this was also a school effort as I had asked for advice from other PIs.

Outcomes and reflection

Now that I hold the fellowship, I still need much guidance and we have both agreed to continue the mentor/mentee relationship. I come to Maggie for advice on next steps when we casually see each other or we arrange to meet. It is reassuring to have someone give you advice based on their experience and their understanding of how things work, to validate thoughts and ideas, and know that it comes from someone whose only interest is for you to succeed.