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Engineering and Biological Science Faculty Honored With Student Writing Mentorship Award

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Each year, the Writing Across the Curriculum Advisory Board honors a faculty member with the WAC Student Writing Mentorship Award. This year, however, the board agreed that two faculty members deserve the award.

For going above and beyond their job duties to help students achieve their writing goals, Jaya Dofe, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, and Parvin Shahrestani, associate professor of biological science, were honored with the WAC Student Writing Mentorship Award.

Jaya Dofe, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering

Dofe centers her mentoring philosophy around creating “a personalized and intentional approach to each student, encouraging them to become better writers through active listening, questioning and reflection.” She believes that setting clear expectations is important, and empowers students to take ownership of their writing. Because she knows firsthand the challenges that women, first-generation and underrepresented students face in engineering, she has sought training to help these groups and all students succeed.

She has honed her mentoring skills by pursuing professional development programs such as the Grant Writing Workshop Series by Quality Education for Minorities Network, the Faculty of Color Learning Community Writing Retreat, the RACE Writing Retreat and the Developing Research Question Program by Hispanic-Serving Institutions STEM Hub.

She has mentored more than 40 undergraduate and graduate students outside the classroom over the past five years, resulting in multiple professional conference presentations and publications in peer-reviewed journals by these students.

Parvin Shahrestani, associate professor of biological science 

Shahrestani strives to “meet each student where they are and believe in them loudly.” She believes her role is to help students recognize their own abilities, identify where they need help, build the confidence to ask for and receive feedback, and build innate motivation for completing projects.

Shahrestani has participated as a mentor and received mentor training in the faculty/graduate student mentorship program, Pa’lante Fellowship, Mentor Connext, and the CSU Alliance for Diversity and Strengths of STEM Early-Career Faculty.  She also completed safe space, veteran’s support and allyship trainings on campus.

Since 2015, she has mentored more than 100 students as they published in peer-reviewed journals or CSUF’s undergraduate research journal, Dimensions. Her students have also written conference presentations and abstracts. She lends her expertise to senior honors projects, grant writing and even a children’s book for the EAGR STEM student organization.

Leslie Bruce