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Mentoring Program

The BME PhD Peer Mentoring Program was founded in Fall 2016. The program matches each first-year BME PhD student (mentee) with a more senior BME PhD student (mentor) in different research areas.

Program overview

 1.  Monthly allowance

Mentor and mentee pairs meet up for coffee or a light meal throughout the semester, paid for by the department (see below for allowance and reimbursement information).

2.   September launch event

New mentor and mentee pairs meet at the beginning of the academic year at a kick-off event, held during First Year Seminar, to get a brief overview of the program and enjoy a meal together.

3.   End-of-fall-semester dinner and social

The entire program gathers at the end of the fall semester to hang out and enjoy a meal together.

4.   End-of-spring semester mindfulness workshop

We invite a guest speaker to lead a workshop on mindfulness and wellness and provide advice for maintaining good mental health throughout graduate school. Lunch is provided.

5.   Ask Me Anything series

Twice per semester, we invite BME faculty and industry leaders to have open conversations about their careers, the lessons they’ve learned along the way, and interests outside of their careers.

6.  Professional Development events

Various professional development events – including academic poster and resume workshops – are scheduled throughout the year and hosted by members of the department and university.

7.  Social events

In addition to the program-wide dinners we host, we also schedule several whole-group social events throughout the semester. These may include board game nights, paint nights, or lawn game tournaments.

For more information, please contact Anastasia Varanko, Taylor Chavez, Casey Baker, or Kevin Erning.


Either the mentor or the mentee pays for the meal; faster reimbursement if you’re on Duke@Work (~2 weeks); otherwise, the paper form takes ~1 month and a check will need to be picked up at Smith Warehouse.

Each mentor/mentee pair gets three meals per semester, with a price limit of $30 (including tax/tip).

Please send the following information to Alice Kessing for reimbursement:

  • Subject: “Mentoring lunch”
  • Names of attendees (first and last)
  • Name of payer
  • PDF with itemized receipt (scan or photo) + total receipt (with tip) if applicable