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Is duke university. A good mentor mentor. A good mentor good man short.
Itss not just me instructing or advising a student. Its us working in combination figuring out what the goals are what the students objectives are what they want to accomplish you have to send a signal that youre interested in what this person is is engaged in and and willing to think about that hard and offer feedback i find in terms of guiding students through the process of doing their own research project. Its really individual you have to understand who it is youre speaking to you have to understand the their needs their strengths what they need from you what they dont need from you i try to figure out what the student is trying to say that the student may or may not be saying directly.
And where the student is trying to go with it and then to articulate that in a way that makes sense and then i say that the student tell me if im getting this right or not its a delicate balance at the same time youre trying to instruct and teach you also one of the students too for him or herself to to stand out and take the lead and take some ownership of the work in the project. I really try and convey that its their section. I want to hear what their ideas are their plans are for how to attack this i think in terms of being a role model it develops over the course of the interactions.
I am a little bit aware. And i try to make sure that i am doing what i asked them to do in their scientific approach and writing etc. But i think most of it just comes natural.
Im there in the lab. Doing research. Almost every day.
So they see me there they see me working hard. And doing data analysis writing up and theyre motivated to do the same. If youre someone who is quite active in the institution.
That probably encourages others to be active in the in the institution. Too if im in doubt about something im about to do there are many things that run through my head and one of them is definitely is this how i want to set an example when i see first year students. What i focus on is how theyre adjusting to the program.
How bizarre it seems to them the kind of feedback. Theyre getting how difficult. It is for them to read things i mean secure the heart out theres status in the program and how all the other graduate students seem so much smarter than they are and all the things we go through when and were in a new program.
We start out very unsure of ourselves. So i think at the beginning. We do need a lot of encouragement and and you know praise thrown in every.
So often is theyre approaching their portfolio defense at their dissertation defense. I talk about different things. But im still dealing with the underlying issue of how do you make someone feel confident.
And feel like they have the tools they need to succeed at the stage. They are so theres a transition and for different students that comes at different times. But they switch from becoming just someone whos following instructions and direction to all to a person whos now set in the direction that they want to follow and often bringing me along with them.
Its kind of like having a baby learn to walk like you dont want to hold them their hands. The whole time because theyll never learn how to do it by themselves. So you really have to know when when theyre ready to take that first step by themselves sometimes going through graduate school can be demoralizing at certain moments.
It can be boring at certain moments. When people have disappeared for a while and have fallen off the radar. Then i will send them a note.
Asking if theyre okay and and ill encourage them ill say this is the very moment when you need most to be talking to your adviser and to your mentors to say whats going on and we might be able to help that person has to trust you you have to have a strong enough relationship. So that the person can let you know when theres a problem for their physical and mental health. I insist that students do other things other than the academics.
I stress that with students all the time i always say to students dont put your life on hold. While youre in graduate school. I stress the centrality of building networks thats important within academia.
But its even more important outside of it to go up to scholars that they admire and introduce themselves for a lot of graduate students and for a lot of junior colleagues. This is really tricky and i myself am a shy and reserved person and i always found as a challenge and so i tell them what i was told. Which is that when you go up to a senior colleague and this is how i experience it now myself.
That colleague is so thrilled that anyone is still interested in their opinion about anything and so i love having people come up to them. And say i really admire your work or i love your work or whatever whenever my students win any award in any recognition. I make sure the whole world knows even at times will contact the parent and say hey by the way your child has won this award.
But its important for to promote the students work and to let friends and colleagues in the profession. Know i have this great student whos doing good things keep your eye out. And be ready for the student of the year to you .
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