Undergraduate Research Mentoring

Mentoring, UMass, Chem. Dept., 2021

I have mentored a few undergraduate students at UMass Amherst (2019-2021). I hope to continue this in my own teaching career, through small projects, independent studies, and research projects integrated into courses.

Samantha Schultz (2020-2021)

A very gifted bachelor's student in UMass Biochem and Molecular Biology Dept, who Jianhan wisely persuaded to stay and get her Master's degree. Sam will have an impressive career wherever she decides to take it. I learned both how to deliver a large amount of information (and be ok repeating things or making small reminders), but also how to allow a student to explore and make mistakes independently. It is challenging to know what I need to tell, what I need to show, and what I should let the student learn by trial and error. I shared co-first authorship with Sam on a project developing a sampling method for hydrophobic dewetting in nanopores. Check it out!

Callie Jillson (2019-2020)

The first student I mentored during her senior year in UMass Chem Dept. She worked on a question about the Hsp70 DnaK: will the presence a substrate in the binding cleft play a significant role in stabilizing the binding conformation? I learned the importance of asking/explaining "why" do a particular technique, rather than simply showing it to a student. Making sure a student understands the story we are trying to tell is more important but also more difficult to pin down. Callie gained a reasonable degree of technical skill fairly quickly once she committed to the lab; this should not be my concern!