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Viterbi, WiSE Researchers, Faculty Mentor Guidelines

Faculty should consider the responsibilities and eligibility requirements outlined below prior to agreeing to mentor a WiSE Undergraduate Researcher. Students should also consider these guidelines when choosing a faculty sponsor.


Any faculty member (research or tenure-track) whose primary appointment is in a WiSE-eligible department and who has Ph.D. supervision privileges may serve as a faculty sponsor.    Research faculty whose primary appointments are in WiSE-eligible department but without Ph.D. supervision privileges may also serve as a sponsor together with a tenure-track member (with a primary appointment in a WiSE eligible department) in an advisory role. In the event that the proposed advisor has only a secondary or courtesy appointment in a WiSE-eligible department, co-advisement is permissible. In a co-advising circumstance, one of the faculty sponsors must have a primary appointment in a WiSE-eligible department and both advisors must submit separate statements of support; both statements must outline how the proposed co-advising arrangement will work. Please note that faculty members may only sponsor ONE WiSE Undergraduate Award recipient per term in the Viterbi School of Engineering or the USC Dornsife College.

Responsibilities of Faculty Sponsors:

Sponsoring faculty members should help students complete the application, especially in the selection and design of the project and by providing a strong recommendation. Faculty members are expected to expose or involve the student in every step of the research process. Faculty sponsors should meet regularly with the student to provide guidance and feedback on the student’s progress. Faculty sponsors should make efforts to include the student in the scholarly activities of the research group. The research account portion of this award should be used solely to defray the costs of the student’s participation in research. Any unused portion should be used in ways that benefit the student directly, such as books, software, attending scientific meetings and so forth.


Please email the faculty sponsor recommendation directly to WiSE Program Manager, Mallory Redel, at The faculty sponsor recommendation should include:

  • Student’s Name
  • Title of the research project
  • Faculty sponsor’s name
  • A one to two-page commentary on the student’s potential to carry out the proposed project; the relationship between the student’s project and the faculty sponsor’s work; details of the faculty sponsor’s plans for supervising the research and mentoring the student; a short discussion of the faculty mentor’s prior track record of mentoring students and post-doctoral researchers, and a description of how this project will contribute to increasing the representation of women in engineering. An application package without a clear mentoring plan may be deemed ineligible for consideration. If the student’s GPA is between 3.0 and 3.3, the faculty mentor must provide an explanation for the low GPA and a compelling case for why the GPA does not accurately reflect the student’s research capabilities.


Faculty mentor must send an e-mail message to stating that he or she has reviewed the student’s application and personal statement, read the “Faculty Application Guidelines,” and agrees to serve as a faculty mentor under these terms if an award is made.

Application Deadlines:

April 1.(In the event that these dates fall upon a weekend or a University Holiday the deadline will move to the first workday following the posted date)