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OHIO computer science student mentors high school students

“I always believe in giving back to the community and making a positive impact on someone's journey and mentoring is one way to do it. I have been associated with computer science for over a decade and during this time, I gained a wealth of knowledge and experiences that I felt could benefit others,” Ahmad Waseem Ghauri, second year Ph.D. student, said.  

On July 8-15, 2023, Ghauri attended the National Youth Leadership Forum (NYLF), an educational program designed to empower and develop young leaders, as a mentor in engineering. The NYLF engineering program combines hands-on learning experiences, workshops, professional development and networking opportunities for high achieving high school students aspiring to pursue a career in engineering.  

“There are always going to be individuals who want to pursue the field of engineering once they graduate high school but they aren’t sure if that field is right for them. I know this because I was one of them. My aim was to help them benefit from the insights and lessons I have learned in my own academic and professional journey,” Ghauri said.  

In his role as a mentor, Ghauri was responsible for creating a safe and supportive learning environment for students, as well as administering about 10 hours of curriculum for the program. He stressed that engineering includes the development of technical skills, but perhaps more importantly, great engineers must have great soft skills in communication, teamwork and time management. 

“Since I was primarily interacting with high school students, I was exposed to their perspectives, challenges and the curiosities that they had and this experience of witnessing my mentees grow for me overall was very rewarding,” Ghauri said.  

Beyond this mentoring opportunity, Ghauri is passionate about computer science. He plans to continue developing his skills in research, so he can ultimately make meaningful contributions to computer science research. Additionally, he is considering a career in academia, so he is continuing to identify opportunities to mentor students in his field.  

“It is important for Ph.D. students to pursue mentorship opportunities on their own because most of them will pursue careers as future educators, but, counterintuitively, the best students often have the least exposure to students since they often receive research assistantships instead of teaching assistantships,” Chad Mourning, assistant professor in computer science and Ghauri’s Ph.D. advisor, said. 

“Ultimately, my goal is to make a positive impact by pushing the boundaries of knowledge in my field and translating that knowledge into practical solutions that benefit society,” Ghauri said.  

September 7, 2023
Chloe Musick