Charles Sammis

USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences
Charles Sammis
Photo by Steve Cohn Photography

For me, graduate mentoring has been about helping students make the transition from college where the total focus is on course work and grades to graduate school, where the total focus is on research projects. This transition is especially difficult for our new students, since success in the classroom has led directly to their admission to the graduate program. The idea that in the future no one will particularly care about their grade points and judge them on their research is almost a non-statement. The trick seems to be to get them to engage with the larger community as early as possible through presenting papers at conferences and collaborating with colleagues at other universities. I am pleased to see that my current crop of students has already learned the most important lesson for a successful professional career: always make your immediate boss look good—like by nominating him for a prestigious award.