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CCMNet Guide

Welcome to the CCMNet Community

The importance of Cyberinfrastructure (CI) in scientific research and the need for a workforce of research computing facilitators, research software engineers, and other CI professionals (CIP) to support researchers in utilizing large-scale CI. The Connect.Cl-based Community-wide Mentorship Network (CCMNet) is a Peer-to-Peer network program working to build a nationwide network of subject matter experts to support the CIP community. Through the CCMNet, we facilitate CI mentorship connections and knowledge exchange with other mentor-centric programs, reaching out to under-served groups and provide best practices and guidance on mentorship to benefit the entire CI community.

Do you enjoy collaborating:

  • on a national level?
  • with a diverse, convivial community?
  • to enhance both your own and others' work experience?
  • to affect a real difference in your chosen profession?

Are you drawn toward:

  • keeping your fingers on the pulse of our evolving CI workforce, sharing challenges, concerns, breakthroughs, and novel paths forward?
  • facilitating research and learning by serving as a link among people with different academic roles, encouraging student growth and participation, and sharing your own experiences?

CCMNet mentors are all the above and more, of course.

CCMNet mentors embody open-mindedness, professionalism, and a desire to advance CI, both technologically and as a career path. CCMNet mentors are CI Professionals, as defined by the NSF. Through time spent in the research computing (RC) space, this person has acquired crucial institutional, organizational (local, regional, sometimes national, and beyond) know-how that can be quite specific to CI.

A successful CCMNet mentor enjoys exposing others to new knowledge and helping them explore new directions. If these rewards appeal, we invite you to join our mentorship community today!

The CCMNet program offers CIPs an opportunity to further their career development, learn about unfamiliar topics from experienced peers, cultivate peer relationships and collaborative problem-solving skills, brainstorm solutions to cyberinfrastructure challenges, share new techniques and job skills, and exchange information as well as best practices and lessons learned as a part of a network of like-minded professionals.

To join CCMNet, create an account and complete a profile indicating your interests and areas of expertise. This will allow you to learn more about the CCMNet program and participate in mentorship opportunities as either a mentor or a mentee. Join CCMNet

Please complete your profile with a short biography and select your skills and interests so prospective mentorship partners can get to know you. Next, explore the mentorship opportunities and mentorship resources on the website.

The CCMNet has curated a collection of mentorship resources for your exploration. We invite the submission of additional mentorship resources to this collection from the CIP community.

Participate in a Mentorship Opportunity

The CCMNet program is intended to facilitate connections between mentors and mentees using a flexible and personalized approach. A CCMNet mentorship opportunity is a one-to-one relationship where two CIPs work together to share professional knowledge and experience to advance their professional development. CIPs have the option to either seek out a more experienced partner in a specific area of interest, taking on the role of mentor; or to share their knowledge and experience with a partner who is seeking guidance, serving as a mentee. To learn more about what it means to be a CCMNet mentor/mentee, see What is a CCMNet mentor?

To post an opportunity to either mentor or be mentored, please complete the Mentorship Engagement form. All CCMNet mentorship opportunities can be viewed on the CCMNet home page and on the Mentorships page.

CCMNet mentorship opportunities can be written to engage either a mentor (someone possessing knowledge and expertise you seek) or a mentee (someone with whom you wish to share your knowledge and expertise).

Examples of Topics:

  • Using Large Language Models and the ChatGPT API for enhancing data analysis.
  • Enhancing leadership skills, cultivating management abilities, overseeing cross-functional teams, and leading interdisciplinary projects.
  • Enhancing communication skills with researchers and other stakeholders, including improving presentation skills, requirements gathering, managing expectations, and communicating results.
  • Grasping the challenges faced by faculty researchers, including understanding tenure and promotion criteria, navigating grant funding intricacies, gaining exposure to proposal submission, and acquiring manuscript preparation experience.
  • Data management including metadata, FAIR, sharing data in open data repositories, making use of national support services such as Globus and Open Science Grid, replication and virtualization for data management.
  • Data governance and responsible conduct of research such as privacy, the Institutional Review Board’ proposal process, and regulations such as FISMA and HIPAA.

When creating your posting, be sure to provide details about the specific subtopics you wish to explore further or for which you can offer expertise. Additionally, mention the activities you anticipate participating in with your partner, both those sponsored by CCMNet and other CIP-focused or professional organizations. Consider outlining a few SMART goals to help potential partners understand your objectives better, which will help them to assess their ability to assist you in achieving your goals.

Do you experience imposter syndrome? Maybe you’re interested in joining CCMNet to grow professionally and expand your network in the CIP community, but you’re uncertain about what expertise you can offer or what expertise you should seek.

To pinpoint areas where you could provide mentorship:

  • Reflect on the tasks you perform regularly at work, those that have become almost second nature to you. These might be things you assume everyone knows how to do, but someone out there could benefit from your insights. Don’t underestimate the value of your expertise, even if it seems routine to you.
  • Consider the tasks or topics colleagues often seek your help with, whether it's troubleshooting issues or sharing best practices. Your colleagues value your knowledge and skills in these areas, making them potential mentorship opportunities.
  • Think about the aspects of your job that you're most passionate about, even if you believe you're still developing your expertise in those areas. Someone might be eager to learn from your experiences, and remember, paired mentorship is a two-way street. You may find that others have knowledge to share about aspects where you're less experienced, creating a beneficial exchange of expertise.

To identify areas where you could benefit from using a mentor:

  • Reflect on the recurring questions or challenges you encounter at work that you wish you could address more effectively. These areas of limited knowledge may benefit from mentorship, offering a pathway to accelerate your understanding and expertise.
  • What facets of your current position do you consider less stimulating? Why have they ceased to engage you? What elements are absent that used to captivate your interest? Spotting what doesn't excite you and then seeking its opposite might unveil fresh challenges for you.
  • What topics or tasks ignite your curiosity and drive you to explore further? What motivates you to pursue deeper knowledge? Identifying what truly engages you can lead to discovering new challenges that spark your interest and push you to solve new and intriguing problems.
  • In five years, envision where you'd like to be and consider the skills and experiences necessary to reach that point. Look for someone currently in that position and model your mentorship posting after their trajectory.

Explore the mentorship opportunities on this website. If you see an engagement that interests you, click the “I’m interested” button to begin the process; or you may request more information by clicking the “I have a question” button.

When the I’m Interested button is clicked on a posted engagement, the CCMNet leadership team will quickly review the mentorship request and the profile of the interested party. If it looks like a good match, the person that posted the engagement (the “requestor”) will be notified about the potential match. The requestor will contact the interested party to set up an initial meeting and if both parties feel that it is a good fit, the requestor will notify the CCMNet leadership team and the posting will be updated.

Once two individuals have mutually agreed to work with each other, we ask that they meet to discuss expectations for communication, and draft 2-4 goals that outline what they’d like to have achieved by the end of the partnership. Additionally, CCMNet offers various activities that mentoring pairs may wish to participate in to complement one-on-one meetings and provide opportunities for interacting with the wider mentor network.

Communication expectations

We ask that pairs work together for at least 6 months, meeting at least one hour each month. You may also find it helpful to plan out a meeting schedule so that time does not slip away unnoticed, ensuring you have enough time to develop the relationship and establish trust. Consider how and where you will communicate. Are you available while at work for a quick phone call? Does more detailed problem-solving need to be addressed when the workday is done? Can you talk at home? Would you prefer to be contacted by email rather than work address?


Outlining goals with your partner can be instrumental in establishing a shared vision and direction for your relationship. By defining common objectives, you create a framework that guides your joint efforts and promotes mutual understanding, alignment, and accountability. Establishing shared goals gives you and your partner a collective purpose to strive toward. It strengthens your bond and provides a reference point from which you can assess and adapt your relationship to ensure your mutual growth and fulfillment.

CCMNet mentors are encouraged to develop two types of goals:

  • Goals that are specific to your work together and that are for your mutual benefit. Examples could include:
    • Improve Python skills by writing code to solve a specific problem
    • Become a more effective presenter by working on a presentation together and presenting to a practice audience of one or more
    • Learn how to navigate challenging office politics with grace by walking through real or hypothetical situations
  • Goals designed to contribute to the community, benefiting the entire network of CIP mentors. Examples of community-focused goals could include:
    • Co-author a short article on lessons learned about the mentorship topic, providing recommendations for gathering technical requirements from researchers, and making this article available through the CCMNet Knowledge Base.
    • Working with an Affinity Group to produce a short webinar presentation on your experiences leveraging cloud computing resources with the researchers you serve.
    • Starting a discussion thread (questions and answers) on the Knowledge Base Q&A platform about the mentorship topic.

For more information on determining goals, take a look at the guidance on the web on drafting SMART goals. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.

CCMNet activities

At the beginning of your partnership, pairs will be invited to participate in an informational session to learn more about the CCMNet program. Other activities that mentoring pairs may wish to engage in include:

  • Contributing to the CCMNet Knowledge Base
  • Participating in and/or organizing Affinity Groups
  • Attending the virtual monthly CCMNet community meeting which will feature invited speakers and open discussion on sharing knowledge, best practices, and tips related to mentorship fundamentals.

Ideally, each participant will make at least one contribution to the Knowledge Base and participate in one or more Affinity Groups.

Each year at the annual Practice and Experience in Advanced Research Computing (PEARC) conference, CCMNet will host a workshop allowing CCMNet mentors to meet in person and connect with other mentors in the network.

When the mentorship pair has reached its agreed-upon goals and wishes to move on to other opportunities, the mentorship status will be marked as “Complete.” At that time, mentorship pairs will be asked to provide feedback about their experience with the program.

CCMNet mentors are not limited to participating in only one mentorship partnership. Continued participation in the network and/or working with new mentoring partners is welcomed.

Engage with CCMNet

CCMNet is the newest website on the ConnectCI community management platform, which supports programs in the cyberinfrastructure community by fostering collaboration and cohesion while addressing shared challenges. The CCMNet is leveraging ConnectCI mechanisms to implement the mentorship network. Other programs leveraging this platform include ACCESS Support, the Campus Champions, and the Northeast, CAREERS, Great Plains, and Kentucky Cyberteams and the Community of Communities Working Group.

Elements of the ConnectCI Knowledge Base:

  • Knowledge Base Resources are vetted references to training and documentation contributed by community members who have found them useful.
  • Ask.CI is a discussion forum for research computing and cyberinfrastructure topics.

Participation in CCMNet activities will enable participants to earn rewards for sharing knowledge acquired during the mentorship process through the ConnectCI Knowledge Base. See Mentoring Rewards for more information.

CCMNet participants may earn a variety of rewards for participating in the Network including: Reputation points, badges, travel assistance, and the CCMNet Leadership Award. Rewards will be distributed based on Network Reputation Points. At the end of each program year, the leadership committee will select mentors to receive CCMNet Mentor Leadership Awards. These awards will include recognition on the CCMNet Portal, a certificate, and stipends of $250-1000, which will be awarded based on Network Reputation Points earned. In addition, travel assistance based on participation will be awarded to enable mentors to participate in the Annual Workshop at PEARC.

The CCMNet Affinity Group allows participants in the CCMNet program to communicate with each other via slack and the CCMNet mailing list. Members of the CCMnet Affinity Group will also receive periodic email notifications about mentorship opportunities and other news.

CCMNet members can also start new affinity groups via the ConnectCI platform.

The CCMNet is a community-driven program strengthened by its strong network of cyberinfrastructure professionals. If your organization or community is interested in partnering with CCMNet to build a strong mentorship network, please fill out our Mentor Program Collaboration Request webform with a brief description of your program and any other information you wish to share, and we will be in touch.

The CCMNet Leadership Team includes:

  • Kevin Brandt, South Dakota State University
  • Torey Battelle, Arizona State University
  • Marisa Brazil, Arizona State University
  • Laura Christopherson, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Vikram Gazula, University of Kentucky
  • Julie Ma, Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center