There is probably no single force in my life that has been more important than mentorship. We all land in the places that we do with some combination of our own talent, of luck, and of who else supports us. And that’s the mentorship. For me, that has probably been the greatest piece of it.

At Wellesley, from the very first days that I arrived, I had a slew of mentors. Many of them were in the physics department or the German department, which were my two homes. But my mentors came from all kinds of places, including my sports coach. 

I have been a product of mentoring, and I have tried to pay it forward.

There are mentors available in the most unlikely places. Find yours. There might be someone out there who will support one piece of you, and someone else will support another piece of you. Together, your whole self is supported.

Mavalvala is a physicist whose research focuses on the detection of gravitational waves and quantum measurement science. She is a longtime member of the scientific team that first direct detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO). In 2017, she was elected to the National Academy of Sciences.