IN LSAMP > Balancing Mentorship with Agility and Resilience

Balancing Mentorship with Agility and Resilience

Dr. Andres Tovar embarked on his second summer as a faculty mentor with IN LSAMP. This year’s research had a distinctly different look but the passion and leadership provided still resonated with our IN LSAMP scholars working in Dr. Tovar’s lab. Read this series to learn more about Dr. Tovar’s research and the two IN LSAMP Scholars working with him this summer, Eric Raymond and Elysa Thompson.

Providing quality faculty mentors for IN LSAMP Scholars is our priority. Understanding the bond formed between research, lab networks, and faculty mentors will guide a scholar’s career is the catalyst that motivates us to seek strong partnerships to guide this journey. Fortunately, we’ve connected with Dr. Tovar. He is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology. Additionally, he is a leader in the Indianapolis community as evidenced by his election to serve as the Education & Student Relationships Chair, Excellente Executive Board of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) Indiana Professional Chapter. 

This summer we share a series providing insight into what makes a successful internship, student experience reflections, and how resilience and leadership have led to successful outcomes in new frontiers. We invite you to follow along with us and learn more about the unique experience of the scholars and their research qualities that shone when spotlighted. Dr. Tovar begins the journey by sharing his top three things to remember when preparing for the pace of summer research.

Students who want to pursue a research experience should understand three things:

  • First, be fast. Summer is short, and you need to produce something useful before the academic year begins.
  • Second, be good. Your work needs to be thorough, rigorous, and organized. The data or results that you produce should be useful beyond the summer research experience.
  • Third, be nice. During this experience, students interact with other students (undergraduate, master, and doctoral) and they may become excellent professional connections in the future.

Successful faculty mentor relationships start with communication and goal setting. Dr. Tovar provides an overview of how they set the path for a successful collaboration from day one.

The students and the mentor agree on the scope of the research, the methods to be utilized, the way data will be managed, and expectations regarding publications, deliverable, and timelines. This is continuously revised and addressed during weekly meetings. Generally, students devote most of the first weeks to literature review and training in the research methods. This includes modeling and coding. By the end of the first half of the program preliminary results are produced and evaluated. The bulk of the research and reporting (technical paper preparation) happens in the second half.

 His advice for students wanting to pursue a summer internship.

Be proactive. Take the initiative and talk to your mentors, advisors, or student offices. Actively look for opportunities such as IN LSAMP. Be responsible for giving the first step. Such research experience may have a profound impact in your future.

 Read more about Dr. Tovar’s research and keep up on his latest discoveries @ProfAndresTovar or connect with him on Linkedin – 

Watch for part two, Scholars Pivot their Skill Set to Thrive in Tovar Lab, where we introduce IN LSAMP Scholars, Eric Raymond and Elysa Thompson.

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