USC Viterbi School of Engineering
Mentoring graduate students is possibly the most gratifying element of being a Professor in a research university. Whereas teaching allows the dissemination of knowledge from professor to students, mentoring provides a bidirectional enrichment channel: The mentor brings knowledge, experience, perspective and context, and the mentee brings enthusiasm, fresh perspectives, new questions, and abundant energy.
The continuous exchange taking place between mentor and mentee is the process that sparks creativity, and the genesis of innovation. My best work came from such exchanges, where established methodology and dogma were questioned, revisited, and altered, leading to radical changes. Finally, the mentor experiences great satisfaction in watching the mentee grow, mature, and shine, first under direct supervision, then as an individual. In business terms, we call this a win-win situation.