Advising and mentoring are critical at all stages of one’s career in science. The program recognizes that successful mentoring involves not only research supervision, but also the development of professional skills and assistance with career planning. This usually is not a job that can be handled by the arbitrary assignment of a single faculty mentor. Thus the NGP uses multiple faculty and sources to mentor students. Entering students meet as a group and individually with the NGP director each year to go discuss aspects of the program and to allow each student to express any concerns or problems. We strongly encourage students to seek out advice and input from one or more faculty in the program other than the thesis mentor, and the NGP director and administrator serve to facilitate these interactions. The NGP Executive committee meets yearly to review each student’s progress. During the first year, the focus is generally on research rotations, progress on the core curriculum, the general direction of the student's research interests, and the choice of a thesis lab. In the first year, students meet as a group with the NGP director at the end of each rotation and present their experience on the rotations. In the second year, discussions concern research progress, course electives, planning for fellowship applications and timing of the oral exam.
After successful completion of the oral exam and advancement to candidacy, the Thesis Advisory Committee assumes primary responsibility for assessing scientific progress. The Thesis Advisory Committee consists of 4-5 faculty members that are expert in the chosen research field and competent to evaluate research progress. They meet with the student no less than once every 6 months and provide a short written report on student progress to the NGP director and the NGP administrator. In addition, students must complete an Annual Report each spring that includes courses taken, talks given, papers published, fellowships received dates of Thesis Advisory Committee meetings, and a narrative of progress on the thesis project. The NGP director and the Advancement and Promotions Committee review these summaries and discusses with the student as necessary.