Dorian Traube, an assistant professor at the USC School of Social Work, has received a USC Mellon Mentoring Award for her exemplary work with graduate students.
In its fifth year, the Mellon Mentoring Awards honor faculty for helping build a supportive academic environment through faculty-to-student and faculty-to-faculty mentoring. This year, 28 Trojans were recognized.
Traube was honored for her commitment to mentoring both doctoral- and master’s-level students, helping to develop their career paths and encouraging them to reach their full potential. Her students regularly point to her willingness to involve them in her own work, as well as champion the value of their research to influential people outside the school in the field of social work.
Ian Holloway, a doctoral student who Traube mentored, nominated her for the award. He described how she proactively approached him after learning that he was a fellow graduate of the Columbia University School of Social Work to ensure he was acclimating to the culture of USC and to life in Los Angeles.
Traube became Holloway’s mentor and appointed him a research assistant on one of her grant-funded studies and co-author of four of her peer-reviewed articles. In addition, Traube made many introductions for him, including to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles researchers, who then allowed him to use their data for his qualifying exam and dissertation.
“Her counsel and support have been invaluable to my development as a graduate student and an independent scholar,” said Holloway, who recently accepted an assistant professor position in social welfare at UCLA. “Dr. Traube has generously shared her time and expertise to critique my work and has involved me in her own work to cultivate my personal and professional growth. She is a wonderful mentor who cares deeply about students and their success.”
Ph.D. candidate Lana Smith MSW ’09 started her mentorship with Traube as a Master of Social Work student, something she realized was much rarer than she originally had thought. Traube already was mentoring four other students at the time, so Smith appreciated the time and effort Traube put into supporting her career aspirations.
“This example attests to Dr. Traube’s commitment to mentoring those in the field of social work, a role she fulfills with grace and dedication,” Smith said. “As a mentor, Dr. Traube has changed my life. She has offered me counsel on private and social work-related matters that have helped me explore who I am and the social worker I want to be.”
Traube said her initial approach to mentorship developed from a sense of responsibility to pay forward the gifts she felt she could not repay to her mentors.
“I believe the most important thing I can do as a mentor is to provide a space where students know they will be challenged to question the status quo, supported when they stumble and celebrated when they succeed,” she said. “I have learned that through mentoring graduate students, their intellectual hunger, curiosity and willingness to take risks catalyzes me to continue to push the boundaries of my field.”