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SOHA HASSOUN COMPUTER SCIENCE TUFTS UNIVERSITY Mentors and Advisors CRA-W Graduate Cohort: 2011
Soha Hassoun Education BS, South Dakota State University, 1986. MIT, 1988 PhD, University of Washington, Seattle, 1997 Professional Positions 1998-present @Tufts; joint appointment in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Professional Service IEEE Transactions on Computer-Aided Design, associate editor ACM/SIGDA advisory board member IEEE/Council on EDA, member Technical Program co-chair for the Design Automation Conference, etc..
My Research Area Electronic Design Automation (EDA) Understand new technology challenges (FinFETs, 3D Integrated Circuits, Carbon nanotubes) and developing automation tools and design guidelines Bio-Design Automation At the intersection of systems biology, synthetic biology, metabolic engineering, and computer science Provide computational methods to re-engineer biology with the same rigor as we do for integrated circuits
Advanced degree == research Need an Advisor/Mentor At some point in your graduate career, you need to find a research adviser/mentor How do you do that? What is important about the process and that choice?
What is a Research Advisor? Learning to do research - Apprentice relationship: Explains, shows and helps you do research Find a research problem Get proper background: literature, skills at critical reading and understanding Apprentice research – How to identify problems worthy of Ph.D. How to tackle problems Organize and write papers & proposals Give talks
What is a Mentor? A Mentor acts as advocate for your professional & personal development as well as research develops and lasts over an extended period of time provides help, advice, contacts, and information provides encouragement and acts as advocate Research advisor may or may not be a mentor
Need both, or more If adviser not a mentor, need to find one – or more Could be in department or not Could be in research area but in different university or industry Can have more than 1 mentor Finding a research advisor that is also a mentor is ideal, but you can find a mentor elsewhere!
Expectations from the combination of advisor and mentor Beyond research: Help build confidence – encouragement Help with networking Conferences, workshops, email Helps prepare you for talks Helps prepare you for interviews Helps with funding
Finding an Advisor Two important components The research The personality
It takes sustained work in an area There are many hurdles to get over But the rewards are amazing!!! You need a research area/topic that you truly enjoy and can have passion about You need an advisor that will help you achieve your potential Doing a PhD is not easy
Where are you now? Best case situation: you know what research you want to do before you even choose your school In this case: you dont shop for a school, you shop for an advisor
Dont know your research area? You need to shop for one – but you should consider advisor personalities as you do so How? Take classes Talk to professors Do projects with professors Talk to other students about the faculty
Finding/evaluating an adviser Is the person in a research area you like? Is the persons work current and relevant? Funded? Where published? How many students does she supervise? How long does it take students to finish? What is the placement of past students? Are students given responsibilities? How responsive is adviser? How long to return written materials? How accessible? How helpful?
Finding/evaluating an adviser How much freedom does the student have? Learn to do research – find problems Does the adviser publish with students? What is the order of names? Who presents the papers that are co-authored? Does the person take students conferences and help with networking? Are the persons work habits compatible with own?
How to find out Look at facultys web page TALK to current and past students! Work on a small project with her/him Take a class from faculty member
Advisor/Student Relationship Not one size fits all! There needs to be a match for you What motivates you Praise/criticism? What is your working style Groups (what size) versus alone Pressured or relaxed? One track or multi-task? Quiet or hustle and bustle?
Barriers to good mentoring Faculty member doesnt have enough time to devote to mentoring Being too busy is not acceptable Faculty member and student are in competition with each other Faculty member and student lack personal experience with people of different backgrounds Trust/Respect is not there – different agenda Communication problems - listening Unrealistic expectations
Do and Donts Do Listen and consider advice of adviser Talk to adviser if have a problem in research Make sure you are getting what you need from an adviser Talk to adviser if not satisfied Dont Criticize your adviser in public Get too involved personally with adviser – including intimate relationship
It doesnt always work out Sometimes an advisor/advisee dont work out together The earlier this can be identified, the better off you are Be honest and open about any problems May need to simply find another advisor! Funding implications? Hard feeling? (hopefully not!) Dont bad mouth your advisor even if you switch
Advisor/Mentors Advisors and Mentors – very special people in your life. Relationship will have lasting effects on your career and your life A Mentor relationship(s) grow over time – and may be found in unexpected places These are important relationships and having a match is something that takes some thought. Take the time to do it right!
Thanks to others who came before me for the deck of slides!! Mary Lou Soffa, 2007.. And beyond..
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