C.-C. Jay Kuo

Photo by: Ziva Santop/ Steve Cohn Photography
Photo by: Ziva Santop/ Steve Cohn Photography

USC Viterbi School of Engineering

In my 25-year academic career at USC, nothing has been more rewarding than serving as a mentor for a large variety of talented and hard-working graduate students.

As a mentor, I guide students towards appreciating good work while being critical of flaws—imbuing mentees with good academic taste and critical thinking. However, the mentorship does not stop there. To go further, I teach students respectable academic practices such as giving credit with proper citation, paraphrasing other’s work in literature surveys, reviewing submitted work fairly yet politely, interacting in professional communities as good citizens and being cooperative team players.

What mentorship attempts to accomplish is not only to nurture a maturing researcher, but also to mold a decent and respectable person in our society. In this sense, a mentor is like a pot maker. We have a responsibility to shape the values and perspectives of our students. A mentor is fundamentally a role model for mentees. Although what we say is important, both who we are and what we do are much more important.

As time goes by, scientific knowledge and technological innovation will become archived documents, and it is well-trained students who will lead our society forward and pass the torch to the next generation.