To encourage and reward the graduate students and post-doctoral scholars who help expand undergraduate research opportunities each year, the Department of Statistical Science recognizes one or more doctoral students and/or postdoctoral scholars for their outstanding mentorship of individuals or teams of undergraduate researchers. We believe that an outstanding mentor of undergraduate researchers, while providing mentoring support and guidance, holds themselves and their mentees to the highest ethical research standards, and helps create a culture in the department of inclusion, equity, and fairness towards undergraduate researchers. This year, we recognized Raphaël Morsomme, a rising fourth year PhD student in Statistical Science.
This year's awardee has supported an undergraduate mentee, Jenny Huang, towards her senior thesis project for next year. Jenny explained that Raphaël has helped her to understand the mechanisms behind stochastic epidemic models and inference in the presence of partially observed data, guided her through the underlying mathematical principles, and pointed her toward additional resources including background papers and source code.
Dr. Jason Xu, one of his Principal Investigators, described Raphaël as "a patient and dedicated mentor, excited to share the joy of research with others." Dr. Xu further explained “I am struck by his ability to maintain the careful balance between providing detailed guidance to undergraduate mentees, and giving them the space to grow and be creative on their own. He also has a knack for explaining sophisticated concepts with clarity, a gift that reflects his own depth of research.”
When asked about his mentoring experience, Raphaël told us “This year, I had the chance to mentor Jenny, a rising senior from the Department of Statistical Science. I saw my role as guiding Jenny in her academic journey and broadening her research experience. I greatly benefited from taking STA772S Mentoring Undergraduate STEM Research this Fall; the class made me look at the evidence of what is good mentoring and stimulated reflection on my practice. I hope that more doctoral students in the department will engage in the rewarding experience of mentoring undergraduate students.”
Raphaël is also enrolled in the Graduate School’s Certificate in College Teaching Program. Congratulations to Raphaël and keep up the great work!