By Analisa Packham
When I was a third year graduate student, I knew I needed to find an advisor. The economics department at my alma mater, Texas A&M University, had few senior faculty in applied microeconomics at the time, and my top choices were oversubscribed.
Enter Jason M. Lindo. Texas A&M had just hired Jason as an Associate Professor, and while I had seen his job talk, I knew little about his research style or interests. Going in blind, I brought Jason a list of my research ideas and asked if he would be my advisor. He agreed, and, relieved, I hurriedly left his office.
What I didn’t know at the time was that I had fostered a unique opportunity to work under someone who is kind, caring, diligent, and thorough. Within the first few months of working with Jason, he offered to coauthor with me, and later scheduled a two-day “writing retreat” so we could get the paper executed more efficiently. During my time on the job market, Jason regularly met with me to take note of my progress and mental health, provide suggestions on job matching, and listen to my interview spiel. Even now, after graduation, he’s made efforts to keep up with my working papers, and continues to cultivate the advisor-advisee relationship from afar. When I recently decided to move institutions, he made the process far less stress-inducing by offering advice and other assistance.
What makes a good mentor isn’t a long CV. It isn’t someone who will make casual suggestions on how to edit the abstract of your job market paper. It’s someone who will listen to your concerns and provide support, during and after graduate school. It’s someone that is invested in your overall success and well-being. I consider myself lucky to have found such a mentor.
Analisa Packham is an Assistant Professor of Economics at Miami University. In August, she will be an Assistant Professor of Economics at Vanderbilt University