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As a new way of looking at the impact of the thesis mentoring programme, I asked PhD writers to tell me if they think their mentor went above and beyond, and helped them make a 'significant transition in knowledge, work, or thinking'.

The people named below have been recognised for their mentoring expertise and good citizenship.

Thesis mentors are trained and experienced early career researchers who volunteer to help students explore their situation, identify their strengths and resources, and navigate their own way forward with their thesis.

May 2017

AB

"Alan was very supportive and with him I was able to explore different techniques for writing. Through sharing his person experience I was able to see additional insights into my work and explaining qualitative research to a quantitative researcher was a very positive experience as Alan was so interested and engaged, it helped me clarify my thoughts."

EG

"Emily has really made a big difference to how I feel about wriring my thesis, I feel like I have a toolkit of useful stuff she helped me discover. It was very motivating and supportive just going to have a chat and then leaving with a spring in my step and some really constructive ideas. Emily is fabulous and joining the thesis mentoring scheme is one of the best things I have done. It helped me see what works best for me and what I need to do and I would recommend it to anyone. Thanks!"

MT

"Michael is a very motivating person. Always encouraging, and helpful and he gave me a lot of writing tips. I learned planning, to accommodate thesis writing around lab work. He helped me create a clear plan for how to do my writing in a manageable ways and helped me get motivated when I was down. And because of him, I can submit a chapter and sub-chapters of thesis to my supervisor. Really, thanks for everything."

CH

"My mentor Clare was very professional and a very supportive person, I always felt motivated after seeing her. Clare always helped me find the best solution to help with my thesis writing and to motivate me to be more productive in writing. I am an international student, and Clare was warm in the way she supported me. She is not just like a mentor to me now, but more like a good friend."

GP

"My mentor was very approachable and easy to talk too. He was always very positive about the progress I had made since the last time we met, even if it was small, which made me appreciate the progress I was making even when it felt like I hadn't done much. I felt my mentor appreciated some of my struggles but he didn't let me make excuses and helped me to focus on the writing and get a short term plan in place. He would make me realise how much I had already done and I would go back to work more positive."

NM

"My mentor hepled me to recognise my strengths and weaknesses. He gave me examples of practise from his own PhD experience, and always send me helpful materials to read, because he realised that I suffer from perfectionism. Overall, his impact on me was very positive and that is more than enough considering his role as a mentor."

DG

"I don't know if I would have made it through this difficult process without his support.  Many thanks."

LL

"I am so grateful that my elocated mentor was Lucy. She is a good listener, amazingly supportive, and exceptionally motivating. Every time I had meeting with her, I felt my thesis writing became more manageable and meeting my deadline more easily achievable. All I need was to remind my self about my goals, writing plan and apply her practical advice whenever feeling stressed. Thanks to Lucy for making my writing journey so enjoyable."

PE

"Taking part in the mentoring programme has been a very worthwhile experience. Philip is a nice, patient and super friendly person. He was always positive towards me and motivated me to work towards completion of my thesis writing. We made an excellent timetable that allows me to keep going with my writing and finish on the target time. I appreciate his help and efforts with me."

XC

"Xinue is an excellent character, very efficient and there when I most needed her. She encouraged me to recognise my weaknesses and strengths and to build on the latter ones. Her encouragement and guidance was really appreciated. I was always looking forward to seeing her. She was able to direct me towards being more focused and planning ahead. I am grateful and thankful for her guidance and support.  I will definitely recommend the programme and working with my mentor."

DO

"My mentor has been excellent. He has shown great patience while I waffled about various ideas, confusions and contradictions within my thinking. He has allowed me the time and space to clarify for myself the thoughts and feelings which are useful and which are barriers to successful and productive thinking and writing. This is not to suggest that my mentor sat in silence. He was always able to offer useful insights from his own perspective when required. I'd really like to thank him for his time"

MP

"Mark was first and foremost a good listener and that's what I needed most. He has a welcoming, encouraging style but is not afraid to ask questions. He was led by my needs and not his experience which seems the right way round although knowing he has extensive experience was reassuring."

SC

"Sarah was a very dedicated mentor. She was so caring, took an interest, and always asked me to keep her updated. She was so patient, I felt like osomeone really cared. I'm glad that I got her as my mentor."

SH

"My mentor has been really supportive and helpful. Even thought she doesn't live in the city, she made the effort to come meet me in person and all the sessions have been extremely useful. I think of her as a friend now and we are keen to keep in touch after the mentoring programme."

November 2016

AB

"I received excellent support from my mentor, he was always willing to help me. I liked his positivism and ability to listen (creating empathy) which motivated me to be carry on and be more productive. Totally recommended, I hope he will continue helping more students, he can really make a difference."

EC

"Emiliano was great and was very helpful; he was very relaxed and was very good at asking the right questions to get me to critically review my own work/performance. I found it useful to have someone to help me reflect on my work; alongside help me develop realistic plans for work that I intended to complete (as sometimes my suggested time frames were not that feasible!)."

MA

"My mentor has been there whenever I've needed her and has had some really useful suggestions to help me cope with PhD-related stress. In the periods when I've struggled even to sit down at my laptop and make a start, being able to talk to her has given me an opportunity to share my concerns, take a step back, identify what is causing me stress and what I can do about it, and then to get back into the work flow. Most importantly, having a confidential, non-judgmental space in which to talk honestly about how well I feel I've been working has helped me to take responsibility for my own work pattern and motivation and to focus on the tasks I need to do rather than worry about whether I could have done more."

SC

"The contribution by Sarah to my PhD Thesis experience was great. She helped me find a way to approach my deadline that finally made me feel comfortable about it, and proved effective. She was a great motivator, but one that did not judge my mistakes. She was able to understand me and my own approach to work, and to suggest a strategy to overcome my limits in a way that was acceptable to me. I owe her a big section of my thesis."

AC

"My mentor has demonstrated a fair, non-judgmental and respectful approach to supporting me. She has been reliable, consistent and understanding which has aided in developing my confidence and self-belief."

GP

"My mentor has been always available each time I ask for a meeting, he was very supportive, easy to approach. Guiliano was open to any questions and helped me through his experience by giving some advice regarding how to manage my time and my stress. I found my experience with Guiliano very positive; our discussions were very useful and helped me to move on with my thesis writing. I am very grateful for Guiliano for his time and support."

MP

"My mentor has first and foremost listened to me. It has been a blessing simply to have somebody to talk to openly and confidentially about all of my concerns. This has been so important to me, as whilst family and friends are there to support me they do not fully appreciate and understand what I am going through. Mark has encouraged me immensely, inspired confidence in me, and reassured me that I am capable of finishing the PhD. This has been achieved by helping me set out very clear plans to my supervisors prior to supervision meetings, and demonstrating to me that writing is hard - but not to be scared of it. Prior to thesis mentoring I would put a lot of pressure on myself to write consistently well all day, everyday - this was an impossible task, and was very counter-productive. Now, I try to write as well as I can for shorter periods of time, allocating time slots at the most productive times of the day to write. Most of all, they have shown me that I am capable of finishing the thesis. Prior to thesis mentoring, I genuinely did not see the light at the end of the tunnel - I found it hard to believe that I could finish, and whilst I still have some way to go, for the first time I can imagine myself submitting. For that, I am hugely grateful."

SP

"Mentoring is a very useful tool for finding motivation. It was very nice to see a friendly smiling face, have a cup of coffee and talk all about me!!! What can be better than that?!! Honestly it took a lot of stress and pressure off, because when you talk about a problem, it helps to scale it down"

DC

"David has taken a genuine interest in my work that made me feel it was worth doing once again. He managed to make the passion for what I do shine through my troubles with the write up by asking clever questions. He demonstrated through his own experience how the writing and the rest of the PhD are sort of separate things, and his comments on mastery of the thesis as a genre and an approach to it as a different task altogether has been invaluable. I found having someone so personable who was willing to share and feedback on the content and manner of the things I said reminded me that I'm human too. Daft really but perhaps something I'd forgotten...I'm a person not a PhD student."

GR

"This partnership has proved to be very beneficial to me. Despite having very different research backgrounds, it was great to talk to someone who went through very similar problems and helped me identify habits that were impeding my progress by finding my own solutions during the course of our discussions. The first meeting involved having a frank and open discussion on my current working style and how I can be more productive. He was encouraging, motivating and most of all gave sincere advice on writing skills, meeting deadlines and how to build on my strengths and weaknesses. "

MT

"Collaborating with my mentor gave me the confidence to finish my thesis on time. He demonstrated a great capacity for mentorship and the time I passed discussing different topics with him was valuable."

ST

"My mentor was able to make me realise that I need to be positive in order to finish my thesis, because I was very worried, thinking that I am not capable of finishing my PhD. He also helped see the need for planning for my work and my writing, and helped me make sure that I kept on the time table that I'd already made."

EB

"Emma is the main reason that my thesis is now becoming a physical entity written down on paper, not just an abstract concept that filled me with fear and made it impossible to start.  She is kind, friendly, open, supportive, and non-judgemental, and normalised the challenges I was facing with stories from her own thesis experience.  Emma has challenged me to set me own goals and see them through, and helped me remain motivated along the way.  This meant that my vague ideas and fanciful plans became realistic progress milestones, and I really wanted to achieve more and make her proud after all the help she had given me to know myself a bit better. I'd like to thank Emma for her level-headed and compassionate approach, her careful questioning and her confidence in me. My thesis seemed like an insurmountable task, but now I feel more grounded and able to chip away at it one bit at a time."

LT

"Lyla helped me to manage a difficult situation by providing moral support and helping devise a strategy on how to deal with things. Just having someone to confidentially "vent" with and making suggestions took quite a burden off my chest. I'm sure she would have provided a lot more support for the writing itself (had I actually needed it) but in the end everything turned out alright. I'm very glad I had to opportunity to partake in this programme and would recommend it to everyone."

SA

"Stuart has been great, really helpful. He's been able to listen to me non-judgementally and has helped me to work towards writing and helped me see the planning and drafting process as less overwhelming."

TB

"Thomas is a very humble person but also a very dynamic person. He listened to my own opinions and thoughts about writing and made contributions where necessary about how to approach it. He is a good mentor, because he always adjusts his approach to what is required."

May 2016

AB

"My mentor has helped me to focus on the work and on future planning to finish on time. All of her suggestions are practical and in general bring out good consequences for my work and feelings. She's also very friendly and always willing to help, even out of the meeting times."

CS

"I found having an additional person to be accountable to, and to discuss things with really useful and I made good progress with writing as a result. Chelsea was particularly good at suggesting ways of working around practical barriers to writing to ensure progress continued, even when I was busy with other commitments."

EC

"I have found this time to be of great help, I was given a lot of support and gained a lot to help me make better working plans, relationships and decisions based on the situation as well as the requirements and needs, both mine and of others involved. My mentor showed experience and interest in listening to my issues and helping me figure out the best way to solve them. He was glad to talk about work related as well as personal items and helped to build an environment of trust.
Through our talks we came up with 'tools' to increase productivity and analyse performance in addition to what can impact it, positively and negatively, and how to think about ways of overcoming or getting past this."

LL

"Lucy has been amazing.  She has been chatty and friendly from the start but full of great ideas to boost my confidence and get me back on track.  She never tells me what I have to do but makes lost of suggestions of how I might do things.  She has got me writing, when I was not putting pen to appear at all and has boosted my confidence in my ability to write.  She has been prepared to talk about her own experiences of writing in order to show me that the position I have found myself in is not unique and that it is possible to develop good writing skills and techniques to overcome writing blocks.
Lucy is brilliant as a mentor.  I've looked forward to all our meetings which have always been positive and informative.  We've also laughed a lot."

MP

"Mark has been a brilliant thesis mentor. He has taken the time to really get to know the way I work and understand how he can help in our mentor-mentee relationship. He is a fantastic sounding board for ideas and has helped me reflect on my own practices and come up with solutions to my predicaments for myself."

PA

Parhmelped me with better understanding of my problems, changed my point of view towards a positive one, and helped me get to a point of clear and reasonable objectives and plans.

SA

"I am really happy to have taken part in this programme. I managed to love writing up and realise it is not as horrible as everyone believes. My mentor managed to make concrete plans with me on writing up, we set up our own deadlines and were keeping a record on my progress. She was very supportive and never judged me when I couldn't deliver what we had agreed."

ABu

"My mentor has been a breath of fresh air to me. She is so supportive without judgement and helped me to break my thesis writing down into manageable chunks using creative analogies. She is such an approachable and positive person who openly talked about her own experiences to ensure I didn't feel alone in my worries and that ultimately, everyone fears the same things, especially when writing up. She also helped me to realise that the stress I was feeling was not only due to writing my thesis, but due to other outside factors, which greatly helped me to manage my time and plan to finish. Thank you so much for pairing us up together, I feel as though she hasn't just been a mentor, but a friend as well."

SAr

"Stuart has a supportive personality and helped me to work better, make better plans for my time and take a much more relaxed approach."

CT

"My mentor has been extremely helpful and supportive. I think it is fair to say that as it was their first time as a mentor and mine as a mentee, it took us a couple of meetings to understand how the partnership would work and what each could expect of the other. Our partnership has developed over time and now I look forward to our meetings and greatly appreciate having this outlet to discuss the process of writing my thesis. My mentor followed my progress closely and at the start of each meeting asked whether I had achieved the objectives previously set. My mentor also took time in between meetings to think through some of the issues we had discussed and offered these considered reflections at subsequent meetings.  My relationship with my supervisors has always been excellent, but discussing some of the challenges of writing my thesis with my mentor helped me to get even more out my supervisor meetings. I have not completed the thesis writing process yet and I hope that if my mentor is amenable we will continue to meet for coffee occasionally as I have greatly valued their support. "

HJ

"I don't think PhD thesis writers really need motivation because we've already got it from our supervisors and ourselves, but we do need someone to help us to calm down and feel less anxious and more inner peace - Hilary is exactly this person ! She is always kind, supportive and caring - not just a mentor but a friend."

MA

"We only met a few times, but I felt that in the short time we spent discussing my current situation and the state of my thesis, Magdalena was able to help me take a step back from the thesis and see it as small achievable goals instead of one big check point. Every time I left a meeting I could see the end point more clearly and having someone to talk to who has been through the experience of writing a thesis was invaluable when my motivation to finish the PhD was at its lowest."

MR

"It is hard to find words to describe how much Matteo has helped me in those difficult months of a huge writers block that I had found myself in, which was beginning to seriously jeopardise the completion of my PhD. I have always had the best of support from my supervisor and research team, but at the time when I fell into this dark pit of extreme procrastination and complete loss of confidence, their approach did not work anymore. By offering unbiased, open and very honest feedback, Matteo gradually guided me through some hard stages of finding my way back to a work routine that works for me, and  rediscovering enthusiasm for my research. Gradually I started making progress and eventually actually enjoying the final writeup stage, which was at the time an unimaginable thing to do. Many thanks to the mentoring programme and thank you Matteo for your devotion and for not giving up on me!"

CE

“I always felt I could rely on Caroline and trust her to help me because I believe her to be a sincere person. In our meetings she never judged me or what I was able to do. I will surely miss her."

CW

"Firstly I wish to thanks my mentor Catherine for her support during the thesis mentoring programme.  obviously, she supported me and gave me enough confidence to go ahead with my writing up. We discussed different issues in terms of developing writing skills, and that's encourage me to be more faster, and reduce my writing mistakes.  She exchange her academic experience with me, and that was great in terms of the best way of presenting and writting my work. I wish her all the best, and I highly recommended this programme to all my colleagues."

JL

"James has been very accommodating in providing his time and experience to help with the thesis mentoring process. He is very busy but has been very happy to free up an hour of his schedule to help me plan and set a goal for the following meeting, as well as listen and provide suggestions to any problems I have encountered (for example, how to manage my time better or suggestions of LaTeX writing software). I am very grateful to James for his time."

LT

"As a very good listener, and a neutral party, Lyla has been able to sort through my panic and work out a strategy to rebuild my confidence in my ability to write.  She is very level-headed and methodical and although her speciality is very different to mine her insight into my difficulties has given me valuable advice and support.  I now feel that I can actually produce a thesis."

MRo

"This mentoring programme was really helpful for me, because I'd realized that I need to have such a defined a plan to make a progress. Definitely it was good to talk with someone who has dedicated time for me and share experience about process of writing a PhD. It helped me also in the meantime to come up with clues about the doubts I had."

SP

"I loved the fact that Suzanne was my thesis mentor, she had a very calm, considered, non-judgmental approach to mentoring. At times I felt embarrassed meeting her, as I had failed to do what I had 'promised' to do and felt like I was wasting her time; she persevered regardless. It was only during one of the later meetings when I asked for help planning my time in respect to setting deadlines for specific pieces of work, that it dawned on me that Suzanne wasn't actually giving me any advice but I was figuring it out myself whilst she sat and listened. It made me realize that writing my thesis is well within my capabilities, I just need to think more and stick to realistic plans. Suzanne was a critical part of what I now call 'coming unstuck' and for that I will be forever grateful."

VL

"At the beginning of the sessions, I was quite confused about how to construct a proper thesis, as I felt there are too many results to sort out. When I started full-time writing, I noticed that motivation was the most important thing in pushing one moving forward. However, motivation could be fragile, as it could be affected by difficulties you encountered in the writing process.
One of the most significant contribution of my mentor was continuously get me motivated. Whenever I was in need of assistance, the mentor could always show up and offer me some useful tips in sorting out the difficulties, which has triggered my motivation of writing ever since."

CH

"Days when I felt like giving up on the PhD, my thesis mentor provided a listening ear, endless positivity, empathy, advice and the belief that I can keep going and will finish. Clare demonstrated understanding that life is busy and complicated and that a thesis may be one of many pressures that students experience at any one time. Clare has treated me with respect, in a friendly, relaxed and open way, and importantly, as an equal. As a result I have I felt able to confide in her about how I have felt at times when I was feeling really low and isolated in the PhD 'bubble'. Clare has also been flexible in agreeing to less frequent meetings over a longer period of time to fit in with my part-time PhD and full-time working pattern. I'm so grateful to the support that she has provided, and to Kay Guccione for setting up such a brilliant scheme - thank you.  I would recommend the scheme to all PhD students who are struggling with the writing-up process."

EB

"Emma is very helpful in helping me develop my own effective way of managing time and progress. In the process I found my own way to start writing and it quite works so far. I started writing whenever I got some ideas, without the stress of finishing one chapter in a go. Things get much easier once I have some core text. Like a magic, the little piece of core text just attracts new ideas and other missing text from nowhere. Now I work less hours but more efficiently. I also gained confidence on myself during the process as well. It is really important for me to have some independent opinions that are not bundled with technical details, and that are not influenced by biased personal feelings. I am very grateful for the help from Emma at this critical moment of my PhD."

LC

"Before I started the thesis mentoring programme, I was worried that the thesis was not achievable in the time I had left given the project work and experiments I still needed to do. My mentor showed me that this was not the case and helped me formulate a plan to finish. They were also able to identify problems I was having with how I worked and suggest ways of overcoming them.
Thanks to my mentor I now have a more positive outlook that I will complete my thesis in the time I have left."

MHO

"Maria showed a huge commitment with the mentoring program. Always very professional, but at the same time very friendly, she guided me to find which problems/situations/environment were making me unproductive regarding the Thesis writing. She also helped me in organising myself and making a clear plan for my writing. Finally, she helped me with my confidence and on how to find strength to continue writing, even though we have disappointments on the way (e.g. bad feedback from supervisor, papers rejected, etc). I am very happy with the impact of this program, not only in my writing but also in my career. "

NRM

"I found Nik's support and guidance throughout the thesis mentoring process absolutely invaluable. He was willing to listen to the issues I was having and give constructive advice based on his own experiences while asking pertinent questions about the writing process. This ensured my progress wasn't falling behind and I wasn't missing anything important. Nik also encouraged me to take steps to help me monitor my own progress, which proved extremely useful.
I was also extremely grateful for his honesty when reflecting on my progress. Nik also encouraged me throughout and gave me belief that I could get the thesis completed on time!"

SA

"Scott has helped me a lot in terms of recognising my strengths regarding the writing process and to foster those strengths. He also helped me recognise how I work best and how I can design a structure that can help me in my writing. It was a very helpful space to recognise my anxieties and feel supported."

November 2015

AB

"Alan is very nice and really friendly. He listens, understands, and shares his real experience with me. Importantly, he is a mentor offering full on help and support. I appreciate it"

CS

"My mentor showed me the skill of being well organised, she was also very motivating and helpful. She could easily understand what problem I was having and lead me to think about the solutions to these problems smoothly. She was also friendly and understanding and easy going which made me feel more comfortable talking to her. I felt real differences were made to my experience with my PhD as I realised that the problems I was having were not uncommon. The reassurance I gained from her was very helpful in maintaining my self-confidence and belief that I can do it like so many had done it before. I and felt I needed this motivation during some really complex times. I am very grateful to have had this experience and would recommend it to PhD students as it helps with understanding the task of PhD writing from someone who has finished it relatively recently. This is different from the peer support or supervision support I get from other sources."

HH

"Helen was a wonderful and supportive mentor. Though the PhD mentoring scheme unfortunately won't write your thesis for you, Helen gave me the confidence to get started with it.  Helen allowed me to work through what I thought was best for me in my writing and always gave me encouragement to do so.  She made me feel as though I was not alone on this single track, up a mountain, towards the holy grail that is my completed thesis."

JW

"Jessica was a great listener and she just sat back and let me get everything off my chest. She wasn't judgemental at all, and at times when I was trying to convince her of certain decisions she noticed that I wasn't fully committed to them and allowed me the space to explore why.  An excellent mentor and a really wonderful person. I wish her the very best."

MR

"He has really shown to me how to be concise and keep focus in my writing. He has motivated me by knowing what each chapter of the thesis may be required and expected either by the supervisor or examiner."

BH

"I have really enjoyed being a mentee to my mentor. She has been a great inspiration and driving force in helping me getting started with writing my thesis. As she has done it herself, she gave a lot of great advice and honest opinions of how someone in my position should start and what is the best way to keep going. She is clearly someone who understands what it is like to be in this position and how to identify the key things that need to be addressed and how to get on with these issues. She is also a great listener and I really enjoyed our meetings."

DG

"Taking part in the mentoring programme has been a very rewarding experience. On a pastoral dimension, my mentor was quickly able to spot the demoralising effect that not seeing an end point to the work was was having and how that tied to my inability to write. Duncan was very helpful in looking for ways to help me keep the demoralising effect of the size of the task at bay. On an academic dimension, Duncan was also flexible in trying different ways of helping me move the work forward, by defining it, breaking it down and overtly carving out time for accomplishing it. His willingness to engage with the peculiarities of writing theses in the social sciences is particularly commendable!"

IH

"Iain has provided the structure and encouragement I needed to get writing. To have a person involved in my PhD journey at this stage who is wholly focussed on getting the thesis written was extremely helpful and has, over the 8 weeks, put me on track to complete my PhD, something which I could not imagine at the start of the programme. Iain has also helped me to keep everything in perspective and provided a source of recent experience in thesis writing. As such his advice on writing a thesis was up-to-date, which is very useful. The external perspective on my approach to writing was just what I needed, and Iain's help has been invaluable to me."

KA

"Kerry has always been positive towards me and motivated me to work towards completion of my thesis writing. She has been able to pick my weak points while challenging me to take control over the situation. She's been really supportive and inspiring in this rough journey.  Thank you so much for such a wonderful opportunity! It feels great to be a part of this team "

NO

"The mentor is a sort of missing link between the PhD student and the supervisor on many levels. The time they've done their writing and viva is closer to that of the student's so most of the rules of engagement are still the same, I felt that Nik still could empathise with this stressful time. On a personal level, Nik was a great friend to talk to and I feel much better and more confident that I can pass the upcoming life changing event (MY VIVA) after each meeting. I can NOT thank him enough and I always appreciate his support."

CH

"I am incredibly grateful to have been given a place in the thesis mentoring programme. My mentor has been incredibly flexible in her approach to mentoring me, which I really appreciate. She very quickly helped me to identify my problem areas that were reducing my productivity and progress on my thesis, which meant that we were able to come up with a plan together straight away. It worked too - but my mentor also let me know that if I ever got stuck again, we could try other things. My mentor has been nothing but supportive - and as a result, I actually believe her when she says that I can (and will) do it. Thanks!"

EB

"My mentor provided a safe space for me to air my worries, stresses and challenges without judgement, and without forcing me to try and 'fix' the problem there and then. She allowed to me realise, through discussion, that my concerns were neither unreasonable nor insurmountable. I am much happier with my progress now, and more confident that will be able to continue with my writing on schedule, and this is in no small part due to the patience and support I received from my mentor."

JA

"Jonathan is a very calm mentor and always brought across a sense of 'It will be fine'. He never pressed any of his opinions on me, but tried to help me understand what I am doing wrong and how I can improve it. The best thing about him was, that his advice and ideas weren't set in stone. He acknowledged the reality and constraints of my research environment as I tried to find ways to finish the thesis and also keep my colleagues happy."

LL

"Lucy has been supportive, practical and honest understanding my problems and motivating me to find my own solutions. She has gave me very good advice about time management and about how I can improve my approach to writing. Our meetings were always productive and pleasant and Lucy made me feel very comfortable and able to talk about the difficult situations and frustrations that I have experienced during my writing. Thank you very much!"

SP

"I really appreciated that Sofia was able to listen in a selfless manner. To be honest in the beginning I was a little bit ashamed to be telling my problems to someone I don’t know, and as I was telling them and thanks to her feedback I realised that they weren’t such big problems or uncommon problems, but she still listened and showed the same interest from the first day to the last. I think she did great work."

CHa

"Catherine has been fantastic throughout the mentoring process. She is extremely approachable and it really just felt that I was having a chat with an old friend. Catherine always listened carefully to all of my experiences and never trivialised any of my concerns.  She encouraged me to think about how I could work through the problems myself before providing some gentle insight herself.  I always left the sessions feeling really positive and I think that my belief in myself and also in my abilities to take control of the PhD has been helped immensely by her encouraging words."

EC

"Emiliano has been great in understanding, supporting and maintaing the momentum I needed to help me in achieving my targets. Since I haven't finished my experiments and can't give 100% of my time to writing, it's been difficult to hit these target.The supportive pressure from him is a good thing!"

JGL

"Jorge is a great mentor to work with. We discussed my difficulties in a friendly environment. And Jorge would summarise the problems and give very clear and positive suggestions. Jorge explains things from the very beginning, from the foundations, so that I can fully understand the nature of the problem and choose a good method to deal with it.  Jorge also generously shares his experience in doing and managing research with me, for example using a mind map to manage my ideas and gain an easy way to start writing."

MG

"Mark is great! He came to help when I got stuck in the most difficult part - the theory chapter. I worked with Mark during the summer and have got a lot of help from him: he taught me how to break a big goal into small tasks; when he asked me questions about my research, I finally saw that I knew much more than I thought, I am already the expert in my research area! He worked not only as my mentor, but also my councilor. He taught me to see the positive side of everyday life. He encouraged me to find my own schedule in working. Thanks to him, I think I can deal with my thesis with more efficiency and confidence. I am going to miss him!"

VL

"It was good to have someone to be there and listen more than anything.  I think quite a lot of the difficulties faced at the end of the PhD writing process are psychological and mental blocks.  Having someone there with a fresh take on things can help immensely.  Even though I wasn't about in Sheffield a great deal, so we have only met on a handful of occasions, I am very grateful to my mentor for giving up her time and she has been very helpful in what is a difficult and stressful time in the final stages of the PhD.  Our meetings were very informal, but she gave me time to talk about the difficulties I was facing, and made some simple but effective suggestions with regards structuring my writing.  I always came out of meetings with a renewed focus and motivation to complete the thesis chapter I was working on.  We also got on well and my mentor has agreed to meet up in the coming months should I want to meet up for a chat again.  Thanks!"

May 2015

AP

"My mentor provided a great opportunity for discussion that felt like part friendship, part academic; having someone who's been through the same things as you to bounce ideas off and get advice from, and allowing you to moan and waffle on about things without being worried about boring them to death, and without feeling like any moaning is being construed as gossip about supervisor/colleagues. It was also nice to have a regular (somewhat) academic meeting during a time with little academic contact when writing up. Most of all, my mentor's friendliness, sense of humour and patience helped me find the solutions to my own problems by letting me talk unashamedly about me me me for a change! Thank you for being my mentor (and I'm sorry)!"

DC

"The experience  was a little akin to  having a rock placed under my feet and a map in my hand.  Learning from my mentor that many of the difficulties I experienced were "par-for-course" rather than signs of  ineptitude  increased my resilience and motivation to keep to going (it was also an antidote to perfectionism and procrastination!).     Despite coming from a very different academic background,  my mentor was remarkably attuned to my  research and experience. The guidance  on managing both the stages  of research and the relationship with my supervisor were insightful and really helpful.  My  mentor provided balanced and insightful guidance and encouragement which has helped to change my relationship to academic work, and I think perhaps to managing challenges in general."

HC

"Holly was a great mentor and really helped me to change my attitude towards thesis writing. She told me to celebrate every achievement, no matter how small or overdue I thought it was, and that is helping me to stay motivated, when before I constantly felt like I was simply catching up to where I thought I should be. I have really appreciated her guidance and enthusiasm and am now looking forward to having a completed thesis, rather than seeing it as some daunting task!"

JA

"Jonathan has been an excellent listener. Especially when I've been frustrated with feedback/lack of... It's been great to discuss my plans and goals with him, which has given me the confidence and motivation to stick to them."

KA

"Despite having completely different professional and research backgrounds, we found a lot of common ground to build a beneficial working relationship. Kerry was very encouraging and warm, always able to point out to my strengths and how I could build on them. She also helped me to recognize how the environment had an impact in my work, and focus on issues I could control instead of issues that were beyond my control. I am truly grateful."

NO

"Nik has been incredibly helpful in giving me a better sense of perspective of both the thesis and life. He's made me more aware of what I need to do to succeed in this task, and has always been available. It has been a really rewarding program to be part of."

CH

""This process made a great difference on my confidence. Meeting with my mentor every two weeks allowed me to reflect on the process of writing, as well as on all the things that have been achieved. I enrolled in the programme, because I was overwhelmed about the thesis writing process, my poor writing skills, publishing, finding a job, and going back to my home country, all at the same time. In these months my mentor support made a great impact on how I manage my time and energy. I see my mentor as an experienced peer who encouraged me to keep working hard, and who was constantly highlighting my achievements. 
Being under so much pressure for so long makes difficult to see to things in perspective. The thesis mentoring programme helped me to see bigger picture, be less stressed, and finally enjoy it!"

DG

"Duncan has been an excellent mentor in so many ways. In the first meeting we had a frank, grounded discussion about my thesis plan which helped convert it from something grand and completely unachievable, into a realistic plan that I could get behind writing. Since then, at our meetings he listened to my progress and opinions and gave my constructive advice derived from personal experiences. This helped me to move forwards with both the writing and managing working relationships with colleagues. Closer to the end of the program, I went through quite a difficult period where I was contemplating leaving the PhD as the work seemed insurmountable; but speaking to Duncan about how I was getting into this situation, and drawing on the grounded plan he encouraged me to make initially, I was able to get back on track. Before the program, I thought I had the thesis figured out and I was just too lazy to start writing. I come away from it with the beginnings of several chapters and a solid, realistic plan for finishing within the time I have left. Without the help I received from the mentor program, I seriously doubt I would have walked away with a PhD."

IS

"Ian has been great to talk with. He is calm and thoughtful and has given me confidence that I will finish this thesis, despite all my worries!"

JS

"The words 'thank you' do not adequately describe how much I really appreciate the time you have spent with me as my thesis mentor.  When I first met you, I was going through a very dark time when I really didn't know what to do, which way to turn or who to talk to.  Meeting with you proved to be the lifeline that I needed to get out and start making some positive changes. Your calm attitude and sensible advice gave me confidence that I was capable of finishing the PhD and that my concerns were not silly or unimportant, but normal things that the PhD process involves. I have very much enjoyed our conversations and would like you to be recognised as an Outstanding Thesis Mentor."

MG

"Mark, above all, was a human being.
Every time I spoke to him, even when I was depressed or not having done any work, he always had a positive spin on things. Every meeting ended with me feeling better about my PhD and about myself than when it started. He listens and more importantly always puts in a place where I have to think about what works best for me and what does not work.  His feedback is great and helpful (probably, because he's very encouraging). I wrote 2 chapters during my time with him. More importantly, writing my thesis is no longer this unattainable dream. It's actually doable! I've done parts of it and Mark's help was vital! I'd do it again with him if I had a chance!"

CHa

"My mentor has never been judgmental. She has always been extremely kind and friendly, but very professional at the same time. Importantly, she has always been eager to help."

DK

"Daniel was always supportive and gave some excellent advice. I felt that he could relate to many of the issues and obstacles I face when attempting to write my thesis, and was able to identify positive and useful solutions. He often just listened to the issues I had, acting as a sounding board and allowing me to develop my own thinking about how I work and how I should work. He also communicated well with me, and I felt I could contact him as and when I needed to, should I have required more frequent meetings than what we had organised. The sessions we had gave me added motivation for completing the thesis, and I feel I am further on with it than I would otherwise have been. Thanks Daniel!"

JW

"Jules has been a great mentor, very friendly and approachable. He definitely has helped me to understand that my time scales that I set myself weren't realistic and provided avenues to attempt to change my writing habits to make them more productive. Jules was always enthusiastic to here about how I was progressing, and gave me the motivation to push on. I owe a lot to Jules for the time and effort that he put into the being a thesis mentor, and am extremely grateful for all that he did."

MHO

""Each meeting with my mentor provided me with new ideas and points of view about how to face the challenges that I have encountered writing my thesis. Her experiences in her own discipline were always constructive and our conversations increased my reflexivity about my work and time management. I am very thankful of her time and knowledge sharing!"

OM

"Owen really helped me to focus on thesis writing in a practical way. I discussed my schedule of chapter deadlines with him, and we would mainly discuss how I had done in very pragmatic terms. This was actually really helpful, because his focus on a very concrete plan of action made me want to stick to it more (which I did), and helped me to shift my focus from dwelling on anxieties/worries to all I had actually done in between our meetings. He was also good at relativising things that I tend to take too seriously, and tried to separate my stress about the future from my current task of completing the PhD (although I did wonder whether he applies this advice to himself too). In short, his more pragmatic and positive attitude was very helpful, and I would recommend him as a thesis mentor. "

IHC

"Ines has helped me identify problematic habits or thought processes that were affecting my work and helped me work out how I could deal with them by changing my working pattern and my attitude more generally. It has made such a positive difference to my work output. Thanks Ines!"

CS

"Chelsea is great, very supportive and encouraging. Giving me renewed confidence and positive speak to charge up my week. Very understanding and supportive. Its been perfect boost to get me started n writing. She was very helpful in the beginning to break down the challenges and than to set out from there."

EC

"Having someone outside of my department to talk to about my thesis and the issues I am facing has been extremely helpful and reassuring. Emiliano has been very positive and encouraging, which has made me feel much more motivated and confident about my ability to write and finish the thesis. He has been endlessly patient and empathetic towards my concerns, as well as constructive and helpful in terms of the planning of my write up, all of which has helped me think about and work on the thesis in a more structured and organised way, procrastinate a bit less and feel less stressed and demotivated. I also very much appreciate his kindness and willingness to help beyond the 'official' mentoring time by regularly checking on me via email and by offering to continue meeting after the programme has ended."

ISt

"Iain is a really good person and gave me lots of useful advice on my thesis writing. The structure, the ideals and as well as my problems I was facing. He was patient as I described my issues and questions and did his best to answer them, even more than I expected coming into the programme."

JW

"It has been really useful to get another perspective on what a thesis needs to be. The meeting let me know that everything was ok and gave me the confidence to keep going."

MR

"The main qualities brought to the partnership by Matteo were recent experience and empathy. These helped me see that my issues were not unique and that there were sound practical approaches and solutions to any situations I was concerned about. The very existence and regularity of the scheme meant that I was able to use my planned meetings with Matteo as an informal framework within which I could produce new work. It was a most useful experience."

SB

"At first I didn't feel very comfortable to share all my thoughts with someone I didn't know, but soon this all changed and I felt I could talk about all my problems. I learnt strategies to overcome them and create long term plans that I could stick with."

NRM

"My mentor tooks a personal interest in the mentoring relationship, and provided guidance and constructive feedback.He also motivated me by relating and sharing his own experiences."

November 2014

BW

"I have really valued Barbara's input as a mentor. She has given my a positive voice which has counteracted my negative thoughts about supervision and helped me to maintain motivation. She has also helped me to clear the fog (caused by data analysis!) and identify goals to prioritise in the writing process."

DK

"The mentoring has provided me with the skills I needed to stay enthusiastic about finishing and work effectively using my time remaining productively. Skills that I had become lazy with have been sharpened thanks to the mentoring"

HJ

"Hilary has been a tremendous support to me.  When I first attended the mentoring scheme I really did not think I would be able to complete my thesis and was very close to giving up.  Hilary has helped me to build my confidence and encouraged me to look more creatively at what I do. Rather than sitting at the computer all day getting more anxious with my writing ability she has encouraged me to take regular breaks, go for walks and find new ways of thinking.  I still have alot of work to do but with Hilary's help at least I feel it is now achievable.  She has always been willing to meet, responded to emails promptly, listened to my concerns and anxieties and propped me up when Ive felt down.  She has been an absolute star therefore and a really outstanding mentor. So a really big thank you"

PS

"My mentor was extremely understanding and approachable and gave me an open relaxed environment to discuss the issues I had. He was aware of taking a sensible approach with the hurdles I came up against and took steps to contact the relevant people when he thought i might need to apply for extension. He did not overbear our meetings and helped me to shape my own thoughts whilst providing good feedback."

DT

"I think the fact that my mentor was willing to share his own experiences through the highs and lows he faced during his PhD was a good starting point to demonstrate that many people work hard to overcome challenges on the PhD journey. This meant a lot in giving me the confidence that I too have a chance and an opportunity to turn things round and begin to feel and be positive and upbeat about my own PhD. Since this is not the most often shared part of the PhD we normally just see the end result that over shadows the actual journey."

IH

"My mentor has been very inspiring and supportive in helping me improve my writing skills as well as motivates me to work hard to achieve my target. She gives many useful tips on technical aspect of thesis writings such as to simplify the thesis outlines, sentences structures etc. She also encourage me to think for alternatives solutions to expedite my writings."

SA

"My mentor was committed with the time of our meetings and that made me feel good support. I really felt I have a mentor. He was always on time in our meetings. I  feel we have anough good quality meetings, where he was aware of the topics discussed previously and the topic or follow up issues in the current meeting. He is very professional, personally I feel motivated with people that show commitment and interest because I feel I can learn many things from them. We discussed many key topics that are helping me a lot to reflect on my organization, time management and plans for the ongoing process of thesis writing. During this period I got a dislexya confirmation diagnostic, and it was a good time to talk with him about these new issue to cope with. In general I am very happy with the way my mentor guide his questions and reflexions about my concerns."

CW

"She is very enthusiastic and able to instill a bit of hope in me. I am facing a huge lack of confidence, talking to her made it a bit better"

EC

"The mentoring scheme has been brilliant for me. It's been refreshing to have an outside perspective on what I'm going through, and I've had encouragement to do things that have made a large difference in my daily life both in and outside of the office. My mentor has been very generous both with his time and his ideas, openly sharing stories and insights that have given me more confidence to get on and get the thesis finally written. He's been unwaveringly cheerful about my prospects, even when I felt overwhelmed, and has been very approachable to discussing both work-related and personal difficulties that I felt were preventing me writing. Thank you!"

JS

"As a mentor, Jess is an effective and tactful one. As a person, she is easy-going, incredibly funny and has thoughtful views on the passionate issues in her life: Academia, data, Australian politics and, of course, lizards. Punctuating my fortnights with meetings with Jess was great: she was a helpful sounding board on which to reflect and refine ideas on how to avoid stagnation during writing; and she was encouraging and celebratory during those weeks when there had been setbacks or breakthroughs, respectively. One thing that particularly stands out to me is that she helped me by distinguishing between pieces of writing which "might be great as a blog-posts", but might be better omitted from a thesis. So I now have a J-Stapley (TM) Blog/Thesis Writing Filter installed somewhere in my sub-conscious. Finally, through her constructive questioning, Jess really had me thinking about what is on the other side of the thesis submission horizon. Trust me, after so many recent echoes from friends and family, it can be jarring to hear, "So what are you going to do afterwards?" But, somehow, it always sounded inviting coming from Jess: maybe it was the Australian accent...For the excellent part she played over these last few months of this mentoring program, I wish Jess all the best in her career, and in life."

DC

"Denis has been a great help to how I think about my thesis and the need to take ownership of my work. He is approachable and always remembers what we spoke about during meetings. He is incredibly perceptive of how I am coping with the thesis writing process even if I have not explicitly said that I am finding it stressful. He has provided me with reassurance but has also highlighted areas where I could be more assertive. However, Denis has never told me what to do in terms of my thesis writing but always knows what questions to ask for me to think through the process."

EEVR

"My mentor is very responsible person. On our first meeting, he made the full preparation, and gave me several forms to help me log my time daily, weekly and monthly. I found these forms very useful and I still use them to keep the 'time' record everyday now. Also, when we talked about the problem of writer's block, I did not expect to hear much from him. I think this is a very difficulty problem happens to every researcher. However, my mentor did a very thorough work about writer's block. He even read some books about the writers' block and make a list of suggestions to help me to solve the this problem. When I stuck in thesis writing, I use the list to check my writing and to work out the solutions.  Although he is not in my research area, he's trying his best to understand my research project and  trying to made the suggestions from my perspective. I really appreciate for his great helps during the Thesis Writing programme and during my writing up stage of my PhD."

LL

"I would like to recognise the work of my mentor, Lucy Lee. It was very helpful the way she help me to think about the output I was expecting when I had meetings with my supervisor, by talking to her made me realise I had to be in control of my thesis and not giving or depending on my supervisor all the time."