PhD mentor program

Program guidelines

Mentoring is a mutually beneficial relationship where a more experienced person helps a less experienced person to achieve their goals. Peer mentoring can have a range of benefits including,

For the mentor:

  • Actively assist the professional development of a colleague
  • Develop leadership and interpersonal skills
  • Develop skills in listening and coaching

For the mentee:

  • Finding new ways to solve problems
  • Gain access to new professional contacts
  • Increase in confidence and sense of belonging/community

Once the mentor and mentee have been matched, it is up to the participants how often and using what medium (email, skype, phone, in person) they are in contact, but we recommend meeting once a month. We also recommend discussing this early on when you are first establishing your relationship. 

The role of the mentor:

Ultimately the role of the mentor is to be a role model and help the mentee achieve their goals. Although each mentor will bring their own personality to the relationship, these are some guidelines: 

  • Be a good listener and sounding board
  • Share lessons, anecdotes, mistakes
  • Provide constructive criticism and suggestions for action
  • Introduce the mentee to networks and contacts
  • Maintain confidentiality and respect
  • Be accessible to your mentee

It is important to note that a mentor does not replace the supervisor and panel, but rather is a complementary role.

The role of the mentee:

The role of the mentee is to learn from their mentor, accept feedback and challenges, in order to grow and develop both personally and professionally. Although each mentee will bring their own personality to the relationship, these are some guidelines:

  • Be a good listener
  • Take responsibility for personal and professional development
  • Reflect on what has been shared and learned
  • Maintain confidentiality and respect
  • Seek and accept both positive and negative feedback
  • Be accessible to your mentor


Just like any relationship, there can be issues with a mentor/mentee pair. Communicate those issues with your partner. If at any point you feel the relationship is breaking down, feel free to contact Heather,

Current mentor pairings

Mentor (Postdoc)


Mentee (PhD)


Christina Knuepffer (UQ)

Processing; technology

Valeria Peretokina (WSU)

Learning; processing

Mark Antoniou (WSU)


Margit Bowler (UCLA)


Rebecca Defina (UM)


Denise Angelo (ANU)


Maïa Ponsonnet (US)


Joey Ong (WSU)


John Mansfield (UM)


Laurence Bruggeman (WSU)


Dineke Schokkin (ANU)


Ronda Aboultaif (WSU)


Chris Carignan (WSU)

Evolution, processing

James Bednall (ANU)


Danielle Barth (ANU)


Gloria Escobar (WSU)


Matt Spike (ANU)


Katie Jepson (UM)


Marina Kalashnikova (WSU)


Josh Clothier (UM)


Stefan Schnell (UM)


Norah Xueqing Zhong (ANU)


Heather Kember (WSU)


Amanda Hamilton (UQ)


  • Australian Government
  • The University of Queensland
  • Australian National University
  • The University of Melbourne
  • Western Sydney University