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Mentors mold us every day, but all too often their world-changing contributions go unnoticed.

Happily, that’s not the case for the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology’s Susan Enguídanos, PhD, and Sean Curran, PhD, who won 2012 USC Mellon Mentoring Awards.

Enguídanos was recognized for her work mentoring graduate students, with many alums submitting letters on her behalf as well.

“She is a caring and compassionate person who incorporates the importance of balancing all of life’s facets into her mentoring,” said doctoral student and nominator Alexis Coulourides Kogan. “I am appreciative every day because I get to work with such an exceptional teacher, mentor, supporter and friend.”

Curran was recognized for his work mentoring undergrad students, earning a slew of letters from the undergrad members of USC’s first-ever iGEM team, which he helped create.

“Dr. Curran embodies the very best spirit of mentorship in the field of scientific research, in which he graciously and enthusiastically shares his knowledge,” said USC alum and nominator Percy Genyk. “Better yet, he does so in a manner that leaves room for discovery by the beneficiary.”

As proud as the assistant professors were of their awards, they found the nominations themselves to be equally meaningful.

“The award is really the icing on the cake since mentoring is one of the most rewarding aspects of my job,” Curran said. “The development of students into scientists is wonderful transition to watch. Assisting in this process through mentorship has been my privilege.”

“I am fortunate to work with such motivated, intelligent and exceptional students who will contribute significantly to advancing research and practice in gerontology,” said Enguídanos. “To receive a nomination from them is one of the highest honors imaginable. We all learn and grow from the mentoring process.”

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