Program Goals

  • Understand how to create a successful mentee-mentor relationship.
  • Learn the strategies involved in becoming an empowered mentee.
  • Appreciate the need for a dynamic mentoring network.
  • Understand how to promote career growth and development.

Career Catalyst logo

Career Catalyst is a strategic, one-year mentoring program for early-career researchers. Participants in the program learn about the importance of establishing successful mentoring relationships that promote personal and professional satisfaction.


A key principle of the program is the importance of mentoring networks. Mentoring networks are composed of professionals who offer support and guidance on various  aspects of a researcher’s life and career. A researcher’s mentoring network often includes a scientific mentor, who offers advice on technical skills or training that relates to the content of their research, and a developmental mentor, who advises on areas of professional development. Developmental mentors are often highly influential in shaping career pathway opportunities for mentees, yet finding an appropriate developmental mentor early in a career can be challenging. The goal of Career Catalyst is to meet this need by providing each mentee in the program with a small group of peer mentors and a senior faculty mentor. 

Program structure 

Each mentee is placed within a small group of three to four peer participants. Every small group is matched with a senior faculty member who serves as a developmental mentor for the duration of the program. Our team consciously avoids matching mentees and mentors with similar scientific interests since our focus is on developmental mentoring rather than scientific mentoring.

Each mentee group meets together twice per month, once with their assigned senior mentor, and once as a peer group without their senior mentor. In order to build a sense of community, three program-wide meetings for all mentees and mentors are hosted throughout the year (September, February, and June). Peer mentorship is a critical component of the program and group events provide additional space to build connections within and across the peer groups.


The program content is structured around monthly themes that are the focus of exercises and assignments. These assignments are organized into a comprehensive curriculum that includes learning objectives, interactive activities, and additional resources. Curricular assignments for the year are varied and cover career development topics including those listed below. 

1) Establishing a mentoring relationship

2) Increasing self-awareness

3) Understanding the institutional “ecosystem”

4) Managing time and priorities

5) Exploring career options

6) Building a professional reputation

7) Considering next steps in a career 

Each month, mentees complete assignments independently and discuss the curricular themes with their peer group and their senior mentor. The curriculum guides mentoring meetings, but overall, the structure and content are tailored to the interests of the mentees. As individual needs arise, the focus of the meetings may shift to align with mentee needs.

Overall, Career Catalyst empowers mentees by giving them strategies and tools to effectively manage their mentoring relationships, grow their networks, and take a proactive role in their own professional development.

Session dates

September 2024 – June 2025

Time commitment

Mentees accepted into the program must commit to fully participate in the following:

Attend three, program-wide, events throughout the year*:

Opening Event:
  • September 12, 2024 | 2:00pm-4:30pm EST

Mid-Year Event: 

  • February 12, 2025 | 10:00am-12:30pm EST

Closing Event: 

  • June 5, 2025 | 2:00pm-4:30pm EST

Consider attending additional, optional meetings with mentees and mentors outside of your assigned group throughout the year.

*We anticipate running most program-wide events in-person, on the Harvard Medical School campus.


Attend two, one-hour meetings per month. Meeting times are at the discretion of your small group.**

  • Meet with your assigned senior mentor and three-to four-person mentee peer group once-per-month for one hour. Please note: Meetings with your senior mentor are always in small groups, not one-on-one.
  • Meet with your assigned three- to four-person peer group, without your mentor, once-per-month for one hour.

**Each small group will have the option to run their mentoring meetings in whatever format best suits them (in-person, remotely, or a combination of both).

Since some required aspects of the program will run in-person, applicants must be based in Greater Boston.

Application due

Friday, June 28, 2024 5:00pm EST

Applicants will be informed of the status of their application by July 19, 2024.


  • Postdocs and junior faculty seeking guidance on overall career development.
  • Applicants may or may not have a scientific project mentor or principal investigator.
  • We believe that the research community is strengthened by understanding how a number of factors including gender identity, sexual orientation, race and ethnicity, socioeconomic status, culture, religion, national origin, language, disability, and age shape the environment in which we live and work, affect each of our personal identities, and impacts all areas of human health.


  • MD, PhD, or equivalent, with an interest in clinical and translational research
  • Postdoctoral research fellows
  • Instructors


Free for Harvard-affiliated schools and institutions.


Application opens Friday, April 19, 2024.