POP Circle FAQs

Please note – this is under construction – please email me if you have questions that I can add here!

How are POP Circles unique? The POP Circles are a peer mentoring group with a few unique features. Members of each circle share the same career stage and other characteristics, depending on interest. So for example, one group might be mid-career women in geosciences and another group might be new assistant professors of color in biomedical sciences. So depending on interest, groups can form for different sets of identities and fields and subfields.

Along the same lines, there is no senior mentor or leader in the group. This model is one that empowers peers to solve problems and serve as resources and sounding boards for one another. This also means that there are not one or two people in the group who are looked to for answers or who feel like they have the most important advice.

How do POP Circles work? Dr. Claire Horner-Devine facilitates the first three meetings to help establish the format and tone and get to know the group. She then checks back in for another meeting after a few months. The POP Circle format is adapted from a very successful peer mentoring group of female scientists that have been meeting for over 30 years. You can read more about this group and their experience and suggestions in a book called Every Other Thursday by Ellen Daniell.

What are people saying about their POP circle experience? People really love their POP Circle experience and report that the others in their groups are some of the most important people in their careers.

Academia is often a lonely profession, and our circle makes me feel much less alone. Now that I have my POP circle to validate my struggles, help me work through a range of challenges, and celebrate exciting milestones with me, I look forward to our next call the moment the current one is over. ~2016 POP Circle Participant

POPCircles provides the unique opportunity to balance focus on the everyday problems that have big impacts on our well-being as professionals and human beings and the challenge to take on longer term discussions around the big issues with which we all wrestle. ~2016 POP Circle Participant

It’s incredibly rewarding to receive and give undivided attention in support of other women in science; to focus in turn on individual well-being, professional development, and our commitments to our students, colleagues and families. ~2016 POP Circle Participant

What is covered by the POP Circle fee?  The fee covers facilitation services, logistics services and video conference services. Claire Horner-Devine will facilitate the first three POP Circle meetings to introduce the meeting structure and help set the tone. She will then check join a meeting after three or four months. The goal is that the POP Circles become self-sustaining.A one-time fee can thus set the stage for ongoing career-development with a community of peers that grows and adapts as participants navigate their careers.

How long do POP Circles last? Each POP Circle meeting is 1.5 hours. Circles meet every other week. Once established, the hope is that your POP Circle can continue indefinitely. The Every Other Thursday group that inspired this work has been meeting for 30+ years!