Outstanding mentors, supervisors lauded for their support, dedication
“To succeed personally and professionally takes the help and support of those around you,” Laboratory Director Paul Kearns said recently as he prepared to present the 2017 Outstanding Mentor and Supervisor Awards. “It is incumbent upon all of us to do everything we can to encourage and help our colleagues to reach their fullest potential. That makes Argonne stronger as a whole, and it allows us to produce world-class science and technology.”
The Outstanding Mentor and Supervisor Awards recognize an individual’s ability to promote and create work environments that encourage and boost curiosity, continuously fuel individual passions toward scientific ideas and hold high standards for performance. Both programmatic and mission support employees are eligible to receive it. The awards were presented at a reception open to all employees.
Ahmet Uysal (CSE) received the 2017 Outstanding Postdoctoral Supervisor Award, which recognizes exceptional work in the supervision of postdoctoral employees and in developing the next generation of scientists and engineers.
Kearns wanted Uysal’s nomination to speak for itself and so read an excerpt of it to the assembled audience:
“Ahmet has helped me maintain a healthy work/life balance. Experiments often require grueling hours, and Ahmet insists that I allow my mind and body to recover. My wife and I are also expecting our first child, and Ahmet has allowed me to work from home or change my schedule when necessary so I do not need to miss any ultrasounds. This support relieves some of the stress I feel as a first-time parent.”
“Ahmet exemplifies the goals of Argonne as we guide and promote our next-generation of researchers,” Kearns added.
The 2017 Outstanding Postdoctoral Mentor Award was given to Marius Stan (GSS) and Xiao-Min Lin (NST). This award recognizes individuals for demonstrating strong advocacy for professional skills development, collaboration inside and outside the laboratory and providing guidance through career decisions.
“Marius’s nomination stressed his extraordinary commitment and effectiveness as a mentor that went above and beyond the mentee’s own expectations,” Kearns told the gathering. “As the mentee said in nominating Marius, ‘I can think of no individual colleague of his seniority who has taken the time of his own volition to use his wisdom and experience in the benefit of a postdoc.’”
In presenting the award to Lin, Kearns read from Lin’s mentee and nominator. “As an observer before he was my mentor, I witnessed many examples of how much he cared about his visiting students, postdocs and users. I also notice his efforts to make all his visiting students happy and make sure that all the users leave Argonne with peaceful thoughts.”
Craig Gerardi (NE) and Subramanian Sankaranarayanan (NST) received the 2017 Outstanding Staff Mentor Award. This award recognizes the recipients’ exceptional work in mentoring and ensuring Argonne employees can achieve their full potential.
In nominating him, Gerardi’s mentee described him as “the single most influential figure over the course of my career at Argonne, and ultimately he has played a pivotal role in shaping the individual I am today.”
“We can see from those powerful words what an incredible impact a mentor can have,” Kearns said. “I found one example described by the mentee as particularly revealing of Craig’s strong commitment to building early career skills. When Craig has high-level sponsor meetings, he regularly invites his staff to attend and observe — which provides invaluable insight into the world of federal sponsors and program management.
Sankaranarayanan’s nomination praised him as a leader who “possesses an extremely rare combination of qualities — passion for science, patience, technical expertise, vision, affable personality, exceptional motivator, collaborative leadership — and above all a wonderful friend.”
Kearns added, “Within the mentee’s first weeks at Argonne, they discussed career aspirations and the best possible strategies for achieving those goals — which demonstrated to the mentee that Subramanian truly cared about the future professional life of his postdocs, and not just their research output.”
The Outstanding Mentor awards are presented annually and are sponsored by the Argonne Leadership Institute, and recipients are chosen by a committee of employees from across the laboratory and career levels. Selection is made through a blind review aimed at minimizing bias and providing a fair and equitable process that focuses on the attributes and impact of mentors portrayed in the nominations essays.
“Being a mentor is an important job. If you’re considering becoming a mentor, I can’t encourage you enough to do so,” said Lisa Durham, director Argonne Leadership Institute. “Know that the rewards will go far beyond seeing your mentee succeed. You’ll that find your career, too, is enhanced by the time you put into your mentoring relationship.”
If anyone is interested in becoming a mentor or serving on the 2018 award selection committee, please email firstname.lastname@example.org