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Bogdan Popa

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Mentoring Plan for PhD Students

Communication and Meetings

How would you describe your advising style? Does your approach vary over the course of a student's progress within their degree?

Each student in my group leads the effort on at least one project. I try to make sure in the recruitment process that each student enjoys and is motivated to work on a particular project. Typically, the project-related research tasks for first and second year students are defined by me. Third year students and onward are expected to become more independent and define their own research tasks. 

What is the best way/technology for students to contact you? Are there time frames in which students should expect to hear from you?

I encourage students to see me in my office if they have questions/issues. Otherwise, they can always contact me by email and I am pretty responsive. 

How often do you plan to meet with students one-on-one (be as specific as possible, it's okay to describe multiple styles that may vary with student needs)? Is an agenda required? How long are meetings?

I typically meet every student and postdoc one-on-one once a week for one hour. During these meetings we discuss the progress made during the previous week, the challenges encountered, and potential solutions. Depending on how independent the student is, the meetings could become less often.

Do you have regular group meetings? What does student participation look like in a group meeting?

We do not have group meetings.

Research and Teaching Expectations

Describe your students' primary area(s) of responsibility and expectations (e.g., reading peer-reviewed literature, in-lab working hours, etc.).

Each student is in charge of at least one project. Each project is different but they typically require activities such as: reading literature, running numerical simulations and/or experiments in the lab, writing journal papers, preparing and presenting slides at conferences.

How do you decide authorship and/or authorship order?

The student in charge of a project is the first author on papers related to that project. The students who helped them with the work are subsequent authors. I am typically the last author.

Do you ask students in your group to serve as a GSI over the course of their program?

No, but I encourage them to become GSIs at least once since this position gives them invaluable experience.

Do you have general expectations for graduation?

Typically three papers published in peer-reviewed journals and graduation in approximately 5 years. 

Are you supportive of your students going on internships? If so, is there a time of year that is best? How many internships can they do?

It depends on whether the internships are related to the students' research. An internship  typically elongates the time to graduation.

Opportunities for Feedback

How do you provide students with feedback regarding overall progress, research activities, etc.?

During our weekly meetings. For papers and presentations I also give feedback by email.

How far in advance of a deadline should a student expect to provide written work for feedback, such as publication drafts?

I do not like last minute rushed work and ask students to provide drafts well in advance of the deadline. How far in advance depends on the student. Some students write well. Others write less well, require more draft iterations, and thus need more time to finalize their written work.

How do you solicit feedback from your students?

In weekly meetings.

Conference Attendance

Which meetings do your students generally attend? What funding is available to attend these meetings?

ASA, IMECE, IDETC, SPIE. Funding is budgeted in our research grant to pay for attending conferences. I also ask students to apply for student travel grants offered by the conference. 

Time Away from Campus

Discuss expectations regarding vacations and time away from campus and how best to plan for them. What is the time-frame for notification regarding anticipated absences?

So far I always let students take vacation when they asked. Typically vacations should be taken after a big deadline or conference.

Are there specific standard times that students in your group generally take vacation?


Additional Information

Are there any additional points that you would like to share?

I value a collaborative environment in my group.

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