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Communications of the ACM


Long-Term Mentoring for Computer Science Researchers

two women in discussion in front of computer displays

Credit: SeventyFour

Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, we—leaders in the research areas of programming languages (PL) and computer architecture (CA)—realized we had a problem: the only way to form new lasting connections in the community was to already have lasting connections in the community. Our academic communities had wonderful short-term mentoring programs to address this problem, but it was clear we needed long-term mentoring programs.

Those of us in CA approached this scientifically, making an evidence-backed case for community-wide long-term mentoring.1 In the meantime, one of us in PL had impulsively launched an unofficial long-term mentoring program, founded on chaos and spreadsheets. In January 2021, the latter grew to an official cross-institutional long-term mentoring program called SIGPLAN-M; in January 2022, the former grew to become known as Computer Architecture Long-term Mentoring (CALM).


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