ACM SIGCOMM 2015, London, UK
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Mentoring Moments at ACM SIGCOMM 2015

ACM SIGCOMM 2015 will offer the opportunity for what we call “mentoring moments.” The idea is to give graduate students a chance to talk one-on-one (or, in this case, one-on-two) about their research with outstanding researchers beyond those available at the students’ universities.

A graduate student can apply for a private meeting with two well-known researchers to get feedback on a research idea. The idea can be a dissertation proposal or simply a research idea that the student is currently pursuing.

The process

The graduate student gets 25 minutes in which to explain her or his work to a team of two senior researchers. The presentation can be about work-in-progress or a possible dissertation thesis idea or any research topic in networking that the student wants to explore. Another 15 minutes are reserved for general discussion and feedback from the mentors. (So the session is a total of 40 minutes). Students are encouraged to bring slides to explain their ideas, but this meeting is not a talk. It is a candid exchange, in which the student presents their ideas and goals and the researchers offer constructive feedback.

The student’s advisor is encouraged to attend, but should let the student and mentors lead the session.

How to apply

Applications are due June 15th 2015. Your application should have your name, your university, a one-paragraph description of the research you would like to discuss and a short paragraph about what kind of feedback you hope to get out of the session. We will evaluate your application to make sure it is in scope for our SIGCOMM mentors and then seek to assign you a time with a mentoring team with relevant expertise in your topic area.

Send applications, with Subject: SIGCOMM Mentoring Application, to:

If we are oversubscribed for mentoring sessions, we’ll do some mix of trying to sign up more mentoring teams, finding more space for mentoring meetings, and, if we must, trying to figure out who will most benefit from the mentoring sessions.

When Sessions Will Take Place

Sessions will be scattered through the conference week.

Mentoring Committee

  • Dr. Craig Partridge

    Raytheon BBN

  • Prof. Fahad Dogar

    Tufts University

SIGCOMM 2015 Mentors

  • Aditya Akella

    Univ of Wisconsin - Madison

  • Hitesh Ballani

    Microsoft Research

  • Paul Barford

    Univ of Wisconsin - Madison

  • John Byers

    Boston University

  • Dave Clark


  • Paolo Costa

    Microsoft Research

  • Jon Crowcroft

    Univ of Cambridge

  • Fahad Dogar


  • Nick Feamster

    Princeton University

  • Thomas Karagiannis

    Microsoft Research

  • Dina Papagiannaki


  • Craig Partridge

    BBN Raytheon

  • Ihsan Qazi


  • Srini Seshan


  • Peter Steenkiste


  • Renata Teixeira


  • Minlan Yu


  • Xia Zhou



I’m a student and I’m trying to figure out if this is right for me. Mentoring moments are most useful when you have a research plan or some research work that is starting to come together and would benefit from supportive and candid feedback.

Who are the mentors? We are currently recruiting mentor teams. Each team will typically have two mentors and have a combined 30+ years of post-PhD experience. As best we can, we will seek to match you with mentors who understand your particular area in networking.

Candid feedback sounds painful… The emphasis of the sessions is to be honest and helpful. Really honest feedback can sometimes be uncomfortable to receive. Remember the mentors are trying to help you make your research better and this is a private setting. Getting you distressed is not their goal. If the session starts to feel too uncomfortable, say so. The mentors can change their approach to make the feedback easier for you to absorb.

Why invite my advisor to the meeting? Because these meetings often identify ways the student can improve their research or how they communicate ideas. An advisor is uniquely well placed to help the student work on those improvements after the meeting. At the same time, sometimes advisors want to step in to “help” their student. Unfortunately, that interferes with the mentoring process – which is why we mention that the student and mentors should lead the session.

Can I reach out to mentors after the session? For the mentors, this is a chance to contribute to your research without signing up for longer-term time commitments they may not have time to fulfill. If you think additional interactions would be useful, feel free to ask them if you can email them later.