The following HTML text is provided to enhance online
readability. Many aspects of typography translate only awkwardly to HTML.
Please use the page image
as the authoritative form to ensure accuracy.
Adviser, Teacher, Role Model, Friend: On being a Mentor to Students in Science and Engineering
importance. Your institution might offer writing programs; if so, be sure that they address the special needs and contexts of technical writing. If they don't, lobby for such a program-or start one yourself. There are many resources that can help you do this.
Oral communication. Speaking is at least as important as writing. Students must be able to present ideas and results to other scientists and engineers, as well as to the lay public and specialists in other fields. For students with low confidence, begin with "safe" exercises: Ask them questions and let them respond without interrupting. As they gain confidence, move on to class presentations and talks at student disciplinary-society meetings. Help them develop their research presentations. Videotaping practice sessions can enable students to see correctable habits, and it helps build their confidence. Watching oneself on videotape is often embarrassing; let students watch the tapes in privacy. Many students benefit from professional training, via speech classes or consultation.
Teaching. One of the most important communication skills is teaching, a skill that undergraduates can begin to develop. One way is to accompany them to high schools where the students can offer career guidance and college information. The undergraduate gains a stronger connection with you and becomes an "expert" to the high-school students.
Developing Skills as a Graduate Student
Communication skills. Rather than withdraw into the isolation of research, students should continue to develop their writing ability and oral expression during graduate