Re: the old fellowship program, was Wow, we're famous

Warren Kumari <> Thu, 15 April 2021 22:54 UTC

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From: Warren Kumari <>
Date: Thu, 15 Apr 2021 18:53:52 -0400
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Subject: Re: the old fellowship program, was Wow, we're famous
To: "Salz, Rich" <>
Cc: Marc Petit-Huguenin <>, John Levine <>, "" <>
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On Thu, Apr 15, 2021 at 10:06 AM Salz, Rich <rsalz=> wrote:

> >    I am more and more convinced that, instead on counting on some
> centralized way to attract new people and then get complaints when they do
> not stay, maybe there is a better way would permit to achieve our goal in a
> more distributed way.  I do not think that group mentorship for the IETF is
> working -- I tried at a previous company, and none of the mentorees are
> still participating, so that's not the way.
> One idea I had, which I mentioned to Lars when we chatted after the Nomcom
> selections, was an "invite a friend" program. If you come to the IETF, and
> you "sponsor" a colleague, then they get reduced/free admission. Of course,
> all sorts of details to be worked out there.  But I hoped it could
> encourage distributed diversity. Especially for junior engineers, you can
> keep travel and lodging costs low :)

Wow, I really like that idea. I've fairly much always worn one of the
"smiley face" stickers, and always try introduce myself to people wearing
the newcomers ribbon - I've struck up some good conversations, but I'm not
sure that they've "stuck".
I've also signed up to be a mentor a few times, but in most of the cases I
only briefly met my mentee, and in at least two of the cases I wasn't able
to find them at all (even after 5 or 6 mails).

I like the reduced charge for first time colleague idea - I've "mentored" a
few people from my company, and that's gone much, much better. I suspect
that a fair bit of this is simply that there is a different dynamic between
people in the same company...

However, as much as I like this idea, it also has some really bad downsides
-- it implicitly advantages those from larger companies. If someone is the
only attendee from a smaller company, they don't have anyone to mentor them.
If we do do something along these lines, I think that we also need to focus
on the mentoring program... actually, strike that - *whatever* we do we
should focus more on the mentoring program...


The computing scientist’s main challenge is not to get confused by the
complexities of his own making.
  -- E. W. Dijkstra