UCLA’s Derjung Mimi Tarn, Margaret Peters, Yuen Huo and Janina Montero all know well the value of mentors — the people who check in, offer support and share advice based on their own experiences, both successes and mistakes.
The women have all been participants in the Association of Pacific Rim Universities’ Asia Pacific Women in Leadership Mentoring Program. Tarn, a professor of family medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Peters, an associate professor of political science, and Huo, a professor of psychology, have been mentees. Montero, vice chancellor-student affairs emerita, serves as a mentor.
UCLA, which is part of the Association of Pacific Rim Universities, has had strong representation throughout the program’s brief history. The mentoring program was created in 2020 as part of a larger strategy to close the gender gap and give diversity efforts greater traction across APRU member institutions.
Cindy Fan, vice provost for international studies and global engagement, and Christine Dunkel Schetter, distinguished professor of psychology and psychiatry and associate vice chancellor of faculty development at UCLA, were mentors during the program’s pilot year.
“I can honestly say that, without the many mentors in my professional life, both men and women, I would not have aspired to senior leadership in academia,” said Fan at a graduation ceremony for the first cohort.
Fan worked with Surabhi Chopra, associate professor of law at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, who had worked as an attorney in nonprofit organizations before starting an academic career.
“I found that listening is the most important criterion in the mentor’s job description. … [And] I’ve found that the most important experiences that I have shared are my own failures. I’ve learned so much from false starts, mistakes and setbacks.”