The Harvard Graduate Women in Science and Engineering started its Mentoring Program in 2008 with the hope that by explicitly pairing women faculty members and gradu­ate students, it could help build re­lationships that would energize and inspire a new generation of female scientists.

The program currently counts 77 mentors and 120 mentees among its members, and the ranks are growing very quickly.

HGWISE unveiled its Mentor of the Year Award last year, and the nominees and the inaugural award winner were honored at a dinner and ceremony on May 21, 2012. The winner was Evelyn Hu, Gordon McKay Professor of Applied Physics and Electrical Engineering.

According to Ph.D. students Allison Provost and Carolyn Eng, the direc­tors of the HGWISE mentoring pro­gram, HGWISE chose a winner who demonstrates a high level of commit­ment to the mentoring program and to her mentees. “The goal of HGWISE is to promote both the professional and personal development of female graduate students, so we looked for a mentor who supported and encour­aged her mentee in both professional and personal aspects of her life,” Provost and Eng said in an e-mail. The 2012 winner, Evelyn Hu, embodies these qualities, Provost and Eng report.

“We want to create sustainable and long-lasting relationships wherethe mentor is not only a role model, but a friend to her mentee(s). We chose a mentor who was emotionally sup­portive while also guiding her mentee through the academic challenges of graduate school. While mentorsand mentees are often in different departments, there are several talents that are important for a successful academic career, in any department. These include giving talks, develop­ing research questions, and teaching courses. We chose a mentor who helped her mentee develop these important professional skills and gain confidence as a young scientist or en­gineer.”

HGWISE kicked off a new year for its Mentoring Program with a collegial and well-attended welcome dinner for students and faculty on October 4. The evening’s guest was Dr. Joan Reede, the dean for diversity and community partnership at Harvard Medical School. Reede, who develops and manages programs to recruit and support underrepresented minority faculty, is a longtime supporter of initiatives at Harvard and beyond Harvard to promote minorities in science and medicine.

The  inaugural winner of the HGWISE Mentoring Award is Professor Evelyn Hu (center), shown with student mentees Dilani Kahawala (left) and Elena Agapie at a ceremony last May.


Faculty mentors nominated for HGWISE’s first-annual mentoring award: back row,from left, Rehana Patel, Cassandra Extavour, Kirsten Bomblies, NeenaHaider, and Briana Burton; front row, from left, Sheila Thomas, Margo Levine, Suzanne Gaudet, Rachelle Gaudet, and Evelyn Hu. Not pictured: Corinne Augelli-Szafran, Sarah Jordaan, and Catherine Stamoulis.


At the 2012–2013 Mentoring Kickoff Dinner on October 4.


Dr. Joan Reede of HMS, the guest speaker at HGWISE’s mentoring dinner.

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