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Any Eulogy for Your Boss, Send it to Nature
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Published online: 26 April 2006; | doi:10.1038/nj7088-1242b

Thank you, Professor MacDonald

Mentor's open door inspires trust.

Wyatt McMahon, Ebtesam Attaya, Toni Denison, Andrew Hockert & Ganesh Shankarling

Good mentors are hard to find. As graduate students in Clint MacDonald's laboratory, we recognize the positive effect that expert mentoring can have on a student's career. In the past Clint has won the graduate school's Teacher of the Year award here at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, showing that others also know he is a great teacher. He has been described as humble, patient and approachable. However, it is his sincerity that makes him a great mentor.

Professor MacDonald constantly works with us when he is busy. He spent weekends helping Ebtesam Attaya perfect her dissertation defence presentation. He spent an hour introducing Ganesh Shankarling to the lab despite a looming grant-application deadline. He literally has an open-door policy and despite being one of the most productive scientists in our department (he was awarded an Independent Scientist Award from the National Institutes of Health in addition to his ample laboratory funding), he takes time for all students here.

MacDonald is not just available to talk science. All of us have benefited from his countless notes on how to make a better presentation, poster or paper. Andrew Hockert said that MacDonald's long hours and helpful advice allowed him to give his best seminar ever. MacDonald gives abundant notes on every abstract that leaves the lab, always teaching us how to produce stimulating documents and presentations. His expertise in this area is exemplified in his students: we have won our institution's research-poster competition for the past three years.

However, MacDonald's mentoring is best illustrated in how he develops our careers. He encourages most of us to take extra classes to give us the skills we want to take to our next job, even when such classes require time away from the lab. He also brings us to meetings, introduces us to important researchers and speaks exceedingly highly of each of us during his talks. Even after we leave the lab, he continually writes letters of recommendation, offers career advice and supports us however he can.

MacDonald is a great mentor because he sincerely wants the best for each of us. We are honoured to be able to congratulate and thank Clint for his years of mentoring. We also hope that others too will consider mentoring a key part of their duties as a scientist.


Wyatt McMahon, Ebtesam Attaya, Toni Denison, Andrew Hockert and Ganesh Shankarling are graduate students in Clint MacDonald's laboratory at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Lubbock.

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