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Dornsife, 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.


The sponsor must be tenured or tenure-track faculty with a primary appointment in science departments of the USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences at USC. Eligible departments are Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Earth Sciences, Mathematics, and Physics & Astronomy. In the event that the proposed sponsor has only a secondary or courtesy appointment in 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 USC Dornsife College or Viterbi School of Engineering.

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, including surveys of the literature, designing experiments, learning methods, conducting experiments, analyzing and interpreting results, drawing and discussing conclusions, relating specified results to the broader field, and communicating results in written and oral formats. To accomplish this, 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 statement describing the laboratory research environment, detailing the number of undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral scholars in the lab as well as a brief summary of recent activities including publications and awards over the past five years. (Applicants who fail to address these questions as part of the letter may not receive full consideration.)
  • A one-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; the faculty sponsor’s plans for supervising the research and mentoring the student; a description of how this project will contribute to increasing the representation of women in science.



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” document, 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)