Jean Porter finds it difficult to describe her approach to mentoring graduate students, because it changes with each and every one. As a mentor, the John A. O’Brien Professor of Theology has been described as providing candid and clarifying advice while also offering patience, support, and generosity. She has guided and encouraged 28 doctoral students as they finished their dissertations, then written recommendation letters for them and given further advice as they launched their own careers.
“It’s just about forming a personal relationship with the student,” Porter said. “In my experience, there’s no substitute for that.”
In recognition of the time and attention she has dedicated to her students, helping them grow intellectually and find their scholarly voices, Porter has been selected as the inaugural winner of the College of Arts & Letters Graduate Student Mentorship Award.