Look up "mentor" in the dictionary and you'll find as the synonyms: "counselor," "teacher" and "guide." This week, during a ceremony at the Lab, the DOE Outstanding Mentor Award program recognized LLNL researchers who not only fit these definitions, but were nominated for their excellent attributes by the students they mentored last summer.
Lab Director George Miller, who presented the awards to the mentors said: "I want to personally thank each of you. The human and personal connection makes what we do here at the Lab successful."
Miller added that the opportunities students have at the Lab provide them with the ability to contribute to some of our country's most important projects.
The 2009 DOE Outstanding Mentor Award recipients are: Adam Bernstein, group leader, Advanced Detectors Group; Kareem Kazkaz, physicist, Advanced Detectors Group; Dawn Shaughnessy, deputy group leader, Chemical Sciences Division; Roger Henderson, staff research scientist, Chemical Sciences Division; Christine Orme, staff scientist, Bioscience and Biotechnology Division; Amy Gaffney, staff chemist, Chemical Science Division; Trevor Willey physicist, Condensed Matter and Materials Division; Roger Qiu, physicist, Chemical Science Divison; Zafer Demir, environmental engineer, Environmental Restoration Division; Phil Burger, principal auditor, Independent Audit and Oversight; Jeff Westcott, project manager, Information Technology Solutions; Gary Laguna, group leader, Environmental Remediation and Monitoring Support Group; Tina Eliassi-Rad, staff scientist, Center for Applied Scientific Computing; Klint Rose, engineer, Engineering Technologies Division ( see related story ); Steve Langer, designer, AX Division; and Robert Rieben, physicist, Integration Directorate, B Division.
The DOE Outstanding Mentor Award program, coordinated through the Office of Science Workforce Development for Teachers and Scientists, began in 2002 as an effort to establish a culture that values mentorship within the DOE national laboratories.
Following are some of the comments received from nominating students about their mentors:
"Not only did she teach us how to plan our project independently and to work collectively as a group, but she lent her experience and wisdom to us by encouraging our plans and ideas as well as suggesting possible improved alternatives."
— Ashlee Crable, Sherry Fay and Morgan Kelley on mentor Amy Gaffney
"He made sacrifices from his busy schedule to create, prepare, facilitate and encourage a project that not only captured my interests, but also is crucial in the remediation process for the Environmental Restoration Division."
— Ni Sun about mentor Zafer Demir
"He was extremely available. Anytime I had a question, he always made time to help me no matter what he was doing. He also consistently would just stop by my workspace to make sure everything was going as well as it could."
—Joel Martinez about his mentor Gary Laguna
"I can't even begin to list all the things I've learned from him and how much my knowledge base has expanded. My experience makes me excited to take on the outside world."
— Anthony Monterrosa about his mentor Roger Qiu
"In every meeting, be it formal or passing in the hallway, I was made to feel welcome. At all-hands meetings and team meetings alike, I was introduced like any other employee. I've been invited to picnics and team lunches. I've even been given tomatoes."
— Elizabeth Barnet, about her mentor Jeff Westcott