Through mentoring, I strive to empower individuals to be independent, culturally sensitive, and excellence-driven researchers. I practice a holistic approach to facilitate comprehensive personal and professional development and strongly believe in promoting a sense of belonging among trainees through dialogue, experiential learning and group activities. I am open-minded and value creativity, new ideas, and enthusiasm; I work continually to create an open, positive environment for everyone and emphasize equity, diversity, and inclusion.
A key challenge of being a mentor is that all trainees are different, each with unique skills, perspectives, goals and motivations. When I enter a mentoring relationship, I will request a meeting to get to know you better and discuss your strengths, interests and the goals/expectations of our relationship. I may also request your CV/resume and (for those who have developed them) a plan of study.
Through my own experience, I have learned that academic mentoring is inadequate if you cannot access the right professional development resources. In the following, I outline some of the opportunities and activities that I will actively encourage my students to pursue to support their overall development. These include:
- Fellowships, awards and travel grants
- Professional development opportunities
- Internships, jobs and career opportunities
- Collaboration and networking
- Leadership, volunteering and service activities
You will be responsible for preparing your application, and I rarely do more than strongly urge you to consider the opportunity. However, if you commit to pursuing an opportunity, I will request additional details/documents to prepare a strong letter of recommendation. I will also arrange an introduction for some of the above.
Furthermore, I will strive to reduce resistance—whether logistical, financial, or others—that impedes your ability to utilize the opportunity to the extent you aspire.
Work Ethics and Well-being
Work Ethic: I will respect your work habits and preferences. Unless we face a deadline due to poor planning, delays or other unavoidable circumstances or constraints, I will not plan for you to work between 9:00 pm and 9:00 am. Whether you are a morning lark, a night owl, or a hummingbird, you are responsible for choosing if working early or late is an acceptable solution. In general, I am flexible on work locations and expect to be updated on your progress periodically. I encourage my trainees to actively think about and develop good work/life balance and integration practices.
Well-being: The well-being of my trainees is essential to my mentoring approach. Effective communication, consistency in routines/schedules, and a self-care plan aids in well-being. During mentoring, I will ask you to identify support structures, activities, and people who will help you with your well-being. I will encourage you to pursue activities that support your emotional and physical well-being.
Meetings: I will schedule meetings at regular intervals, and typically, I expect to meet students at least twice every week during the semester. Every week, we will meet together as a research group to discuss, share and present our research, get feedback and progress updates. I will also schedule to meet with students individually to discuss research activities, classes, plan of study, etc. Importantly, you need to prepare for meetings and help me prepare by maintaining and sending me details about ongoing concerns, research activities and updates.
Feedback: To receive timely feedback, I expect you to provide documents (often electronic) well before the targeted deadline to allow time for review. To engage in your work more quickly and to give you better feedback:
- Share electronic documents (preferably on Overleaf) with track changes enabled.
- When possible, try to send me more complete works that incorporate all of the main elements including, tables, figures, and results.
- I will include extensive notes where required and communicate changes needed to improve the impact of your work.
- I will not enforce my writing style as long as you have a good writing style that is different from mine. However, I will always communicate any tips/changes to improve your writing style.
Research and Responsibilities
Authorship: Numerous factors influence authorship and publication practices, and they vary across disciplines. Purdue requires graduate students and faculty to complete responsible conduct of research (RCR) training to understand authorship, peer-review, conflict of interest, plagiarism and other issues.
Research/Teaching Assistants: I expect teaching assistants (TAs) to improve student learning experiences and assist me with grading, assessments, developing course materials and reporting. TAs can expect to work about 20 hours a week including, holding office hours and assisting students with lab assignments.
Research assistants (RAs) work on specific research projects that fund them and can expect to:
- Attend/organize research and collaboration meetings
- Learning new tools/platforms/techniques and teaching/assisting other students in the research group
- Create/manage experiments; develop/test/implement new ideas, architectures and systems; collect/analyze/interpret data and results
- Develop research artifacts including, peer-reviewed conference papers and journal articles, and present research and results at conferences and workshops
- Assist in grant proposal development, annual reports and other service activities
Teaching Development and Guest Lectures: I will encourage you to participate in a structured teaching development experience during your graduate program. This experience may involve delivering (guest) lectures in the class I teach, instructional design, or it may lead to developing a new course collaboratively. Through these experiences, you can expect to develop a teaching portfolio that documents evidence of your teaching abilities.
Peer Review: At various stages of your research program, I will ask you to evaluate and review conference/journal manuscripts. Evaluating others’ work is an important activity that can improve your writing and critical reasoning skills while also helping you understand the expectations as you work on your own manuscripts.
Grantsmanship: As you make progress in your research program and as your research ideas materialize, we will evaluate pursuing funding opportunities through the development of grant proposals. Grantsmanship is particularly beneficial to fund research that drifts considerably from the project(s) funding your research. You will have numerous opportunities to participate in grant proposal development targeting various funding agencies.
Mentoring and Teamwork: I encourage students to network, collaborate and mentor other students in the group. Mentoring and collaboration with diverse, interdisciplinary teams promote a sense of community and camaraderie among your peers. These activities may include assisting peers with research/analysis, supervising undergraduate research, and sharing insights and experiences (E.g., conference presentations, job interview experiences, etc.).
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My mentoring goals help my trainees become researchers who are