The DST/NRF Centre for Tree Health and Biotechnology (CTHB) has been running a highly successful mentorship programme for over a decade. The program aims to expose eager young undergraduate students to the day-to-day running of a postgraduate research programme. Each year, applications for the program are received from 2nd and 3rd year BSc students. These applications were screened for academic proficiency and scientific interests, before a subset of successful candidates were invited for an interview. The selection panel, consisting of Mmatshepho Phasa, Markus Wilken and Mashudu Nxumalo had the tough job of selecting 18 candidates to join the program for 2015.

A meet and greet function for the successful mentees and their mentors was held on 27 February in the FABI courtyard. Each mentee was paired with a postgraduate mentor from the Departments of Genetics, Microbiology and Plant Pathology or Zoology and Entomology. The mentors were encouraged to expose the mentees to every aspect of research, from cleaning lab benches to data analysis. In turn, the mentees were encouraged to become an integral part of FABI, working side-by-side with their mentors to learn the skills required for completing a post-graduate degree. After a brief welcoming address by Prof. Brenda Wingfield, each mentor and mentee pair received the opportunity to become better acquainted over pizza and a colddrink. The Meet-and-Greet function provided the perfect start to what promises to be another successful year in the CTHB/TPCP mentorship program.