In January 2017 at the Society for Historical Archaeology (SHA), the panel Women in Diving and Archaeology: Past, Present, and Future featured a diverse group of underwater archaeological professionals who discussed different perspectives, experiences, and possible approaches to the challenges, issues, and gender inequality that people have faced in the field. The Advisory Council on Underwater Archaeology (ACUA) core principles of ethics, respect, diversity, and equality demand vigilant effort as the field continues to advance.

As a direct result of the panel, a number of recommendations and action items were developed. While the discussion emphasized the impact of relatively simple actions, more systemic ideas were proposed. Mentorship was a main point of discussion and one that was brought to the ACUA.

At the upcoming SHA conference in January 2018, the ACUA Mentorship Program will debut. The program is designed to connect graduate students, recent graduates, or young professionals with established individuals to discuss research, professional aspirations, or simply to become acquainted. This program offers an avenue for students and young professionals to gain introductions, to forge professional relationships, or just a means to ask questions. The program is not designed for the Mentee to shadow the mentor throughout the conference but to provide a window of time in which the Mentee can have one-on-one time with an established professional.

Mentors will arrange to meet their Mentees at the Wednesday opening reception between 8:00-9:00 pm (or at the first available time, if either cannot make the Wednesday reception). At that time the Mentor/Mentee will introduce themselves and set up a convenient time for both where they have the opportunity for a greater discussion. This meeting should last approximately 1 hour, although there is no maximum time limit. Mentors and Mentees should also be available for the Past President’s reception on Thursday.

The program currently consists of five Mentors: Dave Conlin, Amanda Evans, Della Scott-Ireton, Jessica Keller, and Michael Krivor. If you are interested in participating in the program either as a 2018 Mentee or as future Mentor/Mentee, please send an email to: . The hope is for this program to continue and expand to include more mentors and mentees in the coming years.

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