Na Li receives McDonald Mentoring Award

Faculty member honored for inspiring students

photo of Na LI

Na Li, the Thomas D. Cabot Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Applied Mathematics (Photo courtesy of Eliza Grinnell/Harvard SEAS)

Na Li, Thomas D. Cabot Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Applied Mathematics, was awarded the Capers W. McDonald and Marion K. McDonald Award for Excellence in Mentoring and Advising. 

The award was established by Capers and Marion McDonald in 2008. It recognizes leaders in engineering and applied sciences who, as exemplary mentors and advisors, have significantly and consistently supported the personal and professional development of others.

Lina was nominated in recognition of the extraordinary amount of time and attention that she devotes to her advisees, including post-doctoral scholars, graduate and undergraduate students. Since 2017, Lina has volunteered to serve as a mentor to Harvard Graduate Women in Science and Engineering. She has also consistently served as a concentration advisor in both Electrical Engineering and Applied Math, and as a first-year advisor.

“Lina is an extremely energetic, charismatic and positive advisor,” said one current graduate student. “I am often struck by her excitement for research ideas and curiosity to understand more about what I have done. I always come away recharged and excited for the research ahead. [She] is also very perceptive and critical when she needs to be. I am also impressed by her concern for the welfare of her students.”

“If we ever had any questions, [Lina] was approachable and her office was always open to us,” said one current undergraduate. “My experience in her course largely influenced my decision to switch concentrations and study electrical engineering. She gave me the freedom to explore research topics of my choice, but always knew how to guide me towards intellectual pursuits that pushed the boundaries of what I was capable of.” 

"Without her, [my] thesis would not have been realized as I relied on her not only for the judicious advice she imparted, but also for her unwavering confidence in my ability to succeed,” said another undergraduate. “When tasks were overwhelming and challenges seemed insurmountable, her belief in me surpassed any self assurance I was able to muster. In the toughest moments, her encouragement and optimism motivated me to persevere. I feel incredibly fortunate to have had a mentor as wise and as caring as her."

“Her continued open mentorship since graduation has been essential and influential to me,” said another former undergraduate student. “With her advice and encouragement that I've decided to pursue graduate studies in data science and environmental engineering.

Topics: Awards

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Na Li

Winokur Family Professor of Electrical Engineering and Applied Mathematics

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