Patricia Hughes Mills

USC Marshall School of Business
USC Leventhal School of Accounting
Patricia Hughes Mills
Photo by Steve Cohn Photography

Most of the time as we go through our day, with our varied and often harried contacts with students and colleagues, we may not realize that we are “mentoring.” However, it is important for us as faculty to recognize the influence that we may have on our students, and the importance of mentoring by example and respect.

I am privileged to start with a renowned program that attracts top graduate students who are interested in a career in taxation. From there I simply add my passion for the study of taxation and my respect and adoration of our students, along with empathy for what they are going through. My mentoring will vary from student to student, but whatever form it takes, I strive to encourage those who are insecure, support those who are making difficult decisions, help those who are struggling, and praise those who are successful. Sometimes mentoring is simply laughing or crying with them, and it is always setting a good example and showing respect.

When I look back over 13 years of teaching here, my fondest memories are of the students—the good ones and the struggling ones—and the admiration and gratefulness that they have shown me in return. As a mentor of graduate tax students, I am lucky to be with them during what is most likely their last-ever semester of school and I am privileged to help them grow during the year. I am proud of each and every one of them on graduation day, as we send them off to the “real world,” generally with a strong set of skills and a job lined up. And I look forward to the next crop of wide-eyed, incoming students and the privilege of helping them, too, achieve their goals.