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Teaching and mentoring moments

Highlights from the 2012-2013 year

By Cheryl Walker ('88) Office of Communications and External Relations
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U.S. News and World Report’s 2013 Best Colleges guide ranked Wake Forest 13th among national universities with the best undergraduate teaching. The list highlights “schools where the faculty has an unusually strong commitment to undergraduate teaching.”

But, the nearly magical interaction between professors and bright students is not limited to classroom, studio, stage or laboratory.  Beyond teaching courses, many faculty become mentors for students as they explore academic and extracurricular interests.

Following are selected stories about the ways Wake Forest faculty, administrators and alumni have mentored students during the 2012-2013 year. To view profiles of outstanding faculty who have had a significant impact on student’s intellectual and personal growth, visit Wake Forest’s teaching website.

Student + mentor = innovative cancer research

Presenting research to the largest gathering of cancer professionals in the world is an unusual opportunity for an undergraduate student. Junior Katherine Sams got to do it thanks to the mentor she met in her first-year seminar.

Students job shadow alumni

When sophomore Rahel Tafese spent a day job shadowing a sales representative for BioRx, she learned about treatments for immune deficiency, but more important, she made connections that will help her as she figures out her career path. Forty alumni offered an insider’s view of their work to current students as part of the new program.

Public Engagement Fellows named

The Institute for Public Engagement has launched a new Public Engagement Fellows program to bolster support for students interested in pursuing careers in public service, public policy or public administration.

Infectious mentoring

More than 30 of Ray Kuhn’s former students, plus their spouses or significant others, gathered in Clemmons last month to celebrate their mentor’s 70th birthday and their shared experiences as his research partners. Kuhn’s work as a mentor has grown a close-knit group that spans generations.

Weaving education, entertainment

Senior Jawad Wahabzada finds balancing schoolwork and the global promotion of his documentary “Children of Kabul” a challenge, but says taking courses you love and connecting with a good mentor can make a difference.

URECA: supporting undergraduate research

Undergraduate research has been a cornerstone of Wake Forest’s commitment to academic excellence. Now the Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (URECA) Center provides student grants and administrative support for mentored, undergraduate research and encourages high-quality programs of great impact.

A roadmap to success

In many ways, senior Courtney Flynn is the poster child for a 21st century liberal arts education.  A junior Classical studies major, she pursues her passions while simultaneously safeguarding her future with the help of Assistant Director of Career Education and Counseling Carolyn Couch.

“I believe that while the primary purpose of the institution is to teach us, it’s also to teach us things that are applicable to the rest of our lives,” said Flynn, who is an intern with Citigroup this summer. “There are no Romans out there hiring and I don’t want to go to law school, which is the typical path afterwards. I declared my Classical studies major because I love it. For me, the career office is a vital link between what we learn and what we can do with it.”

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