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Mentoring Students Daphne Koller Stanford University.

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1 Mentoring Students Daphne Koller Stanford University

2 Brief introduction Professor at Stanford since 1995 Research in machine learning, computer vision, probabilistic models, bioinformatics 19 graduated PhD students (4 women) – 9 in academic positions (U. Penn, CMU, Harvard, U. Maryland, U. Washington, Stanford,…) – 10 industry (5 in Google) 12 current PhD students (3 women) Established in 2001 undergrad summer research internship program in CS – Research training for ~60 undergrads / year Advised many undergraduates, many of whom have gone on to top PhD programs

3 Things that Work for Me Recruiting students Recruiting – Teach advanced undergrad / beginning grad classes – Sit on admissions committee – Develop relationships with colleagues who produce good undergrads Decide what you care about in a graduate student – Mathematical skills – Programming skills – Productivity – Ambition Be very selective in taking students – A bad match can be a huge drain on your resources If a student isn’t working out, at some point it’s better for everyone to part ways

4 Things that Work for Me Guiding research trajectory Balance executing on your research agenda and finding a topic the student is passionate about Students get creative ideas by reading papers – Develop a “seminal papers” reading list – Suggest a student-run reading group for current papers Give students opportunity to find their own path – Help by advising, not doing things for them – Provide constructive criticism, with a positive attitude Ask about student’s long-term goals and calibrate thesis expectations accordingly – Academia-bound students need a “great story” thesis – Industry-bound students may not – Students goals might change over time, so keep track

5 Things that Work for Me Student-mentor interactions Tailor your interaction to the student’s needs – Not a “one-size-fits-all” approach Reconsider the “weekly meeting” paradigm – Some students need more time, others less – Needs change over time – Leave time for open-ended brainstorming Use strategies to encourage productivity: – Research notebooks – Weekly goals – Powerpoint summaries of progress

6 Things that Work for Me Intra-group interaction New students (including undergrads) often start working with older grad students or postdocs, then branch out – Mentoring younger students is a terrific learning experience Encourage students to work together and learn from each other – Multi-person projects – Ad hoc collaborations – Resident “experts” Develop lab-wide resources

7 Things that work for me: Beyond research Involve students in non-research tasks – Recommendation letters – Reviews – Grant proposals / progress reports – Course design Explicitly teach students how to – write papers – give talks – evaluate work – network with colleagues

8 Summary Do unto others… – Treat your students the way you wanted to be treated as a student Ultimately, students are responsible for their own success … but you are responsible for helping them succeed to their full potential Your students are a key part of your contribution to science

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