Graduate Peer Mentor Awards 2014

2014 Awardees

Jessica Clayton

Christopher Earle

Mahtab Ghazizadeh

Erik Jessen

Vijay Limaye

Andrew Peck

Rachel Salk

Kate Skog

Keith Thraen-Borowski

Maya Warren

Ángel R. Del Valle-Echevarría

Joseph (J.P.) Gerdt

Kyra Hunting

Patrice Leverett

Laurel Lorenz

Madeline Dunn Raudenbush

Somayeh Sardashti

Teng Tok Tan

Qiwei Wang

Caroline Williams

The Graduate Peer Mentor awards provide graduate students the opportunity to be recognized for stellar mentorship qualities. These graduate students are selected based on their ability to mentor undergraduate and/or graduate students in their departments. Selected mentors are honored at an award ceremony with family, friends and colleagues celebrating their accomplishments.  Learn more >>

Awardee Highlights

Jess-HeadshotCropJess Clayton

Ph.D. Candidate in Political Science

Jess’ research examines the relationship between intergovernmental organizations (such as the UN or NATO) and internationally active NGOs (such as Greenpeace and Amnesty International).

Co-worker and friend Daniela Busciglio writes, “Throughout my short time knowing Jess, she has been more than a colleague and friend to me. She always empathizes with my situation, and she always lends an ear and offers a helping hand, whether it’s in the form of a hug, pertinent personal or professional advice, or simply asking how she can help. Her thoughts are always kind, thoughtful, carefully crafted and tactful, no matter how pressing other matters at hand may be. Moreover, she is genuinely concerned about and invested in the well-being of her colleagues and peers and she is sincerely interested in our ideas, goals, and dreams.”

Mahtab Ghazizadeh

Ph.D. Candidate in Industrial and Systems Engineering

Mahtab’s research focuses on technology acceptance by various user groups. She is looking at older adults’ acceptance and use of information and communication websites designed to help them stay healthy and independent.

Mentee Maddie Gibson writes “Right away Mahtab demonstrated her clear knowledge and expertise on experimental setup. She was very patient with me in taking the time to answer any questions that I had. Her organization skills and attention to detail helped the experiment run smoothly and made me feel very comfortable in a new situation. Mahtab’s positive attitude made it such a pleasure working with her and she played an influential role in developing my enthusiasm and appreciation for research.”

Vijay Limaye

Ph.D. Candidate in Epidemiology/Environment and Resources

Vijay’s research focuses on public health implications of climate change in the United States and India, particularly via exposures to extreme heat and air pollution.

Student Valerie Stull writes, “Vijay was empathetic to my struggles and offered helpful advice, encouraging me to consider the Nelson Institute to pursue my research interests – agriculture and health. He provided endless tips, from enjoying Madison in the winter to great classes to take. Vijay took the time to introduce me to several professors and students with similar interests, including his own advisor. His mentorship continued after the class ended. He even called me from Austria (while he was attending a summer course) just to check in.”

Somayeh Sardashti

Ph.D. Candidate in Computer Sciences

Somayeh’s research focuses on computer architecture and energy-optimized hierarchies.

Professor Jeff Naughton writes, “Somayeh has served as “mentoring chair” for WACM. The acronym probably bears some explanation. “ACM” is the Association for Computing Machinery, the preeminent society for computer scientists world-wide. The “W” stands for “Women” – we have a local chapter that works to further the cause of women in computer science. Somayeh has been amazingly active. She has personally been a mentor to undergraduate women, and has also been an advocate finding women graduate students, convincing them to devote time to mentoring, and matching them with undergraduate women.”

Kegon Teng Tok Tan

Ph.D. Candidate in Economics

Kegon’s research lies at the intersection of personality psychology, social economics, and human capital development.

Colleague Jiaming Soh writes, “Kegon’s passion and determination in research motivate me greatly. We often work together on the research projects till late night at his office. He is the driving force that keeps our research going, and he always encourages and supports me along the way, knowing very well that I need to juggle my heavy academic loads and the high research commitment. He will never stop challenging me with new ideas and always encourages me to take the challenge a step further.”

Keith Thraen-Borowski

Ph.D. Candidate in Kinesiology

Keith’s research focuses on physical activity in the prevention and treatment of cancer.

Mentee Jessica Gorzelitz writes, “An exceptional mentor is one who is a guiding beacon for an individual, lighting a path unique and untraveled. Keith is an exceptional mentor, helping me through my undergraduate path, and ultimately with graduate studies. He has been a pillar in my journey providing guidance, wisdom and empathy to help me reach my goals. I never thought I was graduate school material, but Keith showed me empathy by discussing his own personal journey and what I could learn from him to apply to my own situation.”

Qiwei Wang

Ph.D. Candidate in Cellular and Molecular Pathology

Qiwei studies novel molecular and cellular mechanisms of abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) formation.

Mentee Shaz Chindhy writes, “More than just teaching me, Qiwei valued my opinions on research projects, and treated me as a fellow peer. Whenever we met challenges, Qiwei would take a moment to reflect on what could have gone wrong. He has superb mentoring qualities and I can strongly say he’s one of the best mentor’s I’ve had.”

Caro Williams

Ph.D. Candidate in Curriculum & Instruction, Math Education

Caro’s research focuses on building a game in LittleBigPlanet 2 that supports learning how to multiply fractions. Her puzzle-based design requires players to perceptually compare fractional parts to the whole.

Colleague Christian Schmieder writes, “Especially during times of stress, or when things did not work smoothly, was always levelheaded, empathetic, and focused. She is a great example and role model for me in terms of how to deal with tight time frames, deadlines, and unforeseen emergencies. In my opinion, those skills are pivotal to success in the high-paced environment we are working in. Without guiding example, her sanity, and her enormously valuable advice (both emotionally and technically – e.g. concerning calendar maintenance), I would have greatly struggled through my first year as a TA and as a student.”

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