Scientific Callings: Mentoring and Vocational Exploration in the Natural and Health Sciences

Assumption University and the College of the Holy Cross are hosting a NetVUE Regional Gathering, September 23-24, 2022

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This NetVUE regional gathering of colleagues in the natural sciences and in pre-professional health sciences and nursing programs will provide a space to discuss mentoring of students as a means of vocational exploration in STEM and the health sciences. Institutional restructuring and the creation of new programs motivated by market-driven expectations, together with the increasing demand for health and scientific career opportunities in a post-pandemic world, bring new challenges as well as opportunities for mentoring and encouraging students as they discern their callings in the sciences. Building meaningful mentoring relationships with students, especially with first-generation and other underrepresented minoritized undergraduates is essential to promote academic success and encourage vocational discernment.

The leading questions for this gathering are:

  • How can mentors serve students in the sciences and help them better match their particular desires, experiences, and skills with specific fields and careers?  
  • How can sharing stories about our own personal and professional journeys contribute to building more meaningful mentoring relationships for students and faculty?  
  • What specific challenges do faculty face in mentoring students as they navigate questions of what gives meaning and purpose to their lives?  
  • What resources and practices exist to assist faculty mentors in dealing with these challenges?  

By engaging with keynote speakers, sharing stories of mentoring and vocational discernment, and making connections with each other, attendees will learn valuable lessons on vocation and mentoring in the natural sciences, pre-professional health sciences, and nursing that they can practice at their college and university campuses.

The gathering will feature two keynote speakers, panels, and breakout sessions. 

We have confirmed the participation of two keynote speakers:

Headshot of Joan Y. Reede, MD, MS, MPH, MBA, Dean for Diversity and Community Partnership at Harvard University Medical School who will speak at a Netvue gathering at Assumption UniversityJoan Y. Reede, Dean for Diversity and Community Partnership at Harvard University Medical School.  At Harvard Medical School, Dr. Reede has created and developed more than 20 programs aimed at creating pathways and leadership opportunities for minorities and women who are interested in careers in medicine, academic and scientific research, and the health care professions.

HEadshot of Becky Wai-Ling Packard, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology and Education at Mount Holyoke College who will speak at a Netvue gathering at Assumption UniversityBecky Wai-Ling Packard, Professor of Psychology and Education at Mount Holyoke College.  Professor Packard’s research focuses on mentoring, with an emphasis on how individuals such as first-generation college students, women, and persons of color construct mentoring networks as they navigate complex pathways toward higher education and work. 


Participants in need of accommodations must make their own hotel reservations at the Hampton Inn & Suites Worcester. Hotel Registration Deadline is September 9, 2022.

Event Registration Deadline: September 9, 2022. For information on making a hotel reservation, please click on the Location and Accommodations tab below. 

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Travel directions to the Assumption University campus.

For more information, please contact:
Esteban Loustaunau
Director of the Center for Purpose and Vocation
Assumption University
(508) 767-7589

This event is made possible by the Network for Vocation in Undergraduate Education (NetVUE). NetVUE is administered by the Council of Independent Colleges with generous support from Lilly Endowment Inc.


Post-gathering Workshop: Mentoring for Virtues in Community: Practices for Successful Teamwork

Saturday, September 24th from 1-4:30pm.
Science is a collaborative endeavor, but we don’t always think about how to prepare students to work successfully in a collaborative or team environment. In our workshop, we will explore how explicit discussion of communities and the virtues that allow communities to thrive make a difference in the training of future student leaders and the culture and engagement within your classrooms and research spaces. We will consider how mentorship of students is best framed by a discussion of virtuous calling. You will join Rachael Baker, Amy Wilstermann and Julie Yonker who have developed curriculum to train students on the value of virtues and community in developing thriving and productive teams. You will have an opportunity to learn about how to implement practices in your science classrooms or labs. At the end of the session, we will provide access to curriculum you can use with students to teach them about how to work well in teams and to improve engagement in your classrooms or research spaces. If you have questions about this workshop, please contact Rachael Baker at 

Workshop Registration