What is your title?
Religious Studies Assistant Professor
What is your research focus in one sentence or less?
My research focuses on the practice of Buddhism in pre-modern Tibet, with a particular focus on vegetarianism and the master / disciple relationship.
How do you involve undergraduates (including Ecampus students) in your work?
To date, undergraduate students can get involved with my research by reading Tibetan Buddhist literature (in English translation) and looking for references to particular topics, such as vegetarianism, various retreat practices, or the master / disciple relationship. Doing this reading helps me to data mine this literature and gives students first hand experience with the kind of archival research that is at the center of history as a discipline.
What do you think makes a good mentor?
A good mentor shows students how to do work, while also helping them understand the significance of that work. Ideally, students should become invested in the project, see it as theirs, and not simply feel like they are doing the mentor's work.
What strategies do you use when mentoring students?
When I mentor in a research situation, I try to let my students learn by simply diving in and reading the material, without telling them too much about what they'll find. The research then becomes a process of discovery for the students, and we can work through those discoveries together as a team.
What advice do you have for undergraduates looking to get involved in research?
I'd suggest looking for research projects that you find interesting, but which are a little outside of your actual major. This is an opportunity to try new things, and you never know how developing a new skill set may change your approach to research in your own field.