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Each year, the ASU Faculty Women’s Association invites ASU faculty, staff and students to nominate faculty members who have been outstanding mentors to students or other faculty members, especially women and underrepresented groups. This year, both a PhD student and a research associate nominated Professor Wei Li, and Li was selected as an Outstanding Faculty Mentor for 2015.
The following comments were shared at the Faculty Women’s Association Awards reception on April 2:
“Dr. Li is a real believer of students' independent thinking processes. As a doctoral mentor, Wei Li is always available to provide professional help, advice, and encouragement for her students. She has also proven herself to be very supportive in preparing future female scholars in academia. She has actively involved women students into her research projects and provides opportunities to co-publish to help build future research experiences.
“Dr.Li’s dedication in teaching students with her extensive experience as a scholar makes her a great mentor, but what makes her really outstanding is that she truly cares about students’ growth and makes every possible effort in creating opportunities for them to succeed.
“Her excellent mentorship reflects on her vigorous research and training in geography and urban planning and her study of the roles of banking institutions in facilitating immigrant community and business development. Her efforts to develop students' academic abilities and career options includes their work on her numerous grants focused on, for example, financial Institutions and immigrant Integration in the US and Canada. She and her students have also researched the ways communities survive in the aftermath of disasters such as Hurricane Katrina.
“In Dr. Li's graduate courses, she always encourages students' innovative and critical thinking in order to help them build their own research directions and foci. Dr. Li is a real believer of students' independent thinking processes.”
The accomplishments of two students that Li mentored provide a small example of Dr. Li’s impact: Geography doctoral candidate Wan Yu will begin a position as an assistant professor of Geography and affiliated with Asian and Asian American Studies at Binghamton University in New York in the fall. Sofi Lorraine Lubanski, a first-generation college student from an underrepresented native Pacific Islander group (Samoan), was the first female student to graduate with a BA degree majoring in Asian and Pacific American Studies.
“I am extremely humbled and honored to receive this award,” said Li. “Attempting to exert positive impacts in the lives of next generation global citizens is one of the most noble parts of our profession.”