ISTR Mentoring Program

ISTR Mentoring Program*

ISTR’s Mentoring Program draws naturally from the friendliness and collegiality of its members, and is designed to provide students with career, publishing, and funding advice and professional and networking development.

*The 2019-2020 Mentoring program is currently in session.

The call for the 2020-2021 program is open now.  Deadline to apply: May 29, 2020.

To apply, please read the program details provided below and then click on the links to access the brief application form. 

Susan Appe, Assistant Professor, University at Albany,
(SUNY), USA (mentor) & Ana P. Borges Pinho,
PhD student,  University of Sao Paulo, Brazil (mentee)

All mentors and mentees must be current paying members of ISTR.


Mid-career or senior scholars, as well as professionals from outside the academy.


Graduate students at any stage of their careers or post-graduates and junior faculty within five years of receipt of their terminal graduate degree
(including PhD, MA, and JD).

How it Works 

•Mentors and mentees submit a short statement of interest to ISTR before the deadline and are subsequently matched by ISTR’s executive director based on mutual interests.

•This one-year mentoring relationship is intended for July 2020 to June 2021. 

•Mentors and mentees are expected to have 3-4 conversations over the course of the duration of the program, either electronically or in person, and will include an exchange of experiences and advice.  More regular communication or additional engagement is at the discretion of the mentor. ISTR will provide periodic reminders to maintain communication, however mentees are expected to initiate communication with the mentor.

•Mentors are not substitutes for the mentees’ formal supervisors or advisers.  While reading of dissertation chapters or grant proposals is helpful to every junior scholar, this program defers that labor to the mentee’s local networks. No commitment to reading is required of the mentor in ISTR’s mentoring program.

  • Mentees are not substitutes for the mentor's research assistants.  Mentees should not offer or be requested to carry out work for the mentor. 

•Instead, mentoring conversations should focus on career advice, professional advancement, publishing/funding strategies, and facilitating contacts.

  • Many research partnerships have developed organically from ISTR's mentoring program relationships. We are delighted to hear where these partnerships occur, but your engagement beyond the ISTR Mentoring Program is not expected.

CLICK HERE to sign up to be a MENTOR

CLICK HERE to sign up to be a MENTEE


 Note: ISTR is grateful to the American Society for Environmental History for providing a template for this program.


A Mentor’s Reflection 

I will be frank, I did not initially respond to any calls to be a mentor for ISTR. I likely missed the call, or if I considered it thought maybe I was too early in my career to be a valuable mentor. As it turned out, colleagues at the ISTR Secretariat reached out with a possible match, considering my research and regional interest in Latin America. So I gave it a go, and am so glad I did! I was paired with Ana P. Borges Pinho from the University of São Paulo. What a great experience it has been. She is a doctoral student of international relations and exploring civil society, nonprofit organizations, and philanthropy on the international and transnational stages. My work—as someone in the field of public administration—has looked the role of regulation and government-nonprofit relations more generally.

Some of what I have admired about Ana as a mentee, and something that I think makes these types of partnerships so rich, is her initiative. We have started a joint project that was 100% the result of Ana’s initiative. She presented me with a short paper written by her, from one of her final courses in her doctoral program. She requested feedback and asked if it might be something that I or someone I knew would be interested in continuing to research. Once reading the paper—about democracy and civil society in global governance, I jumped at the chance. We have come to look at transnational policymaking and its implications for the nonprofit sector. It has been a great merging of our interests.

Both of us committed to the research topic, and in a handful of months we have two papers in the works.  One paper is on civil society participation in global governance through a case study of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and a second looking at counter-terrorism legislation and its implications for nonprofit organizations in Latin America, likely with an eventual case study of Brazil. The first paper was presented in three conferences during June and July of 2019, once by Ana at the British International Studies conference and twice by myself at ISTR regional conferences in Bangkok, Thailand and Medellín, Colombia. We have gotten great feedback and hope to get a final draft of the first paper completed very soon. It has been a productive partnership indeed!

As previous mentors have reflected [], there is important learning on both sides of the mentor-mentee spectrum. I think it offers both partners important opportunities to consider new academic ideas and for the mentor to contribute to fostering third sector scholars globally. I would encourage all of my ISTR colleagues who have been in the field a bit to sign up and become a mentor!


Susan Appe, Assistant Professor, University at Albany (SUNY), USA 



A Mentee’s Reflection 

When I applied for the ISTR mentoring program during the Amsterdam conference I did not really know what to expect. After years working for civil society organizations I decided to do a PhD and it was my first presentation at an academic conference. Mentorship looked like a good opportunity to meet people during the conference and talk to someone with more experience about research on the third sector, but it ended up being so much more than that. Professor Susan Appe and I met during the mentoring reception held during the conference, and immediately had a great connection. She was very open and welcoming, and answered all my (very many) questions about research opportunities, how to best take advantage of the conference and life in general in academia. We kept in touch after the conference, when she gave me pointers on my PhD research project and shared articles that proved to be very helpful.

What called my attention the most about Prof. Appe’s work was that it looked at civil society

 and nonprofits from different perspectives, and showed me the many different paths research can take. When I wrote a coursework paper about the role of civil society in global governance, it felt like a topic that could be further explored for an article. Although the paper started with an international relations perspective, I thought it could benefit from another angle. I needed advice from an experienced researcher, and Prof. Appe was the first person that came to mind. I could not be happier to have reached out to her. Susan was very open to and enthusiastic about the idea, and brought in all her expertise in public administration. This has enriched the paper way beyond my expectation – so much that one article turned into two!

Working closely with an experienced researcher has proven to be the best way to learn about methodologies and the nitty gritty of research work. Coming from an international relations/development studies background, I could see the importance of interdisciplinarity when studying the third sector, but was finding it hard to put it into practice. Working with Susan has helped tremendously, and I am now taking an interdisciplinary approach to my thesis as well. We will meet again at the University of São Paulo, where Susan is teaching a course which I am helping organize. This journey has been so fruitful and joyful that I have also applied to similar programs in other conferences. Through the ISTR mentoring program, I met a great mentor and person, and cannot recommend the program enough. 

Ana P. Borges Pinho, University of São Paulo, Brazil 


To read reflections from the 2018 Mentoring program, please click here.

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International Society for Third-Sector Research
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Tel:   410-735-4221
Fax:   410-735-4201

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