Face Time

The fabric of friendliness is tightly woven at Wake Forest, where students tell their stories of why face-to-face faculty mentoring matters.

Photography by Heather Evans Smith

Spring 2012


In a speech in 2010, Provost Emeritus Edwin G. Wilson (’43) recalled the friendliness between professors and students that defined the Wake Forest of his college days. “Beyond the Monday, Wednesday and Friday classes and the Tuesday and Thursday afternoon laboratories, where teaching and learning officially took place, there were frequent encounters between students and teachers here and there, on the campus or in town, which opened eyes and inspired confidence and led to new insights about one’s life and career.”

That fabric of friendliness remains at Wake Forest, although it goes by a more formal name today — mentoring. Whether on campus in an art studio, a history classroom or a science laboratory or abroad — from Mexico City to Nairobi or Venice — professors mentor students in formal and informal ways, in ways large and small. Those encounters can lead to new insights. They might begin in a library in China, a school in the Himalayas or amid Roman ruins. They all feature a common catalyst, a teacher regarded as friend, someone willing to help students realize their dreams.

We chose a few students (and one alumna) to share stories of “face time” spent with the professors who have challenged, guided and inspired them. (For Ed Wilson’s memories of mentors and Wake Forest, watch “The Essence of Wake Forest.”)

Rob Musci

(Kernersville, North Carolina)
and Peter Brubaker
(Professor of Health & Exercise Science)

There aren’t many professors who would run through fire, climb to the top of a mountain or crawl through mud with their students. Senior Rob Musci found one in Professor Peter Brubaker (MA ’86). Read more »

Nick Liu
(Hangzhou, China)
and Stewart Carter
(Professor of Music)

Sometimes students have to travel far from home to discover what is right in front of them. That was the case for junior Cheng “Nick” Liu, a native of China and gifted pianist, who returned home last summer with Professor Stewart Carter (P ’01) to explore the history of Chinese orchestras. Read more »

Camille Morgan
(Raleigh, North Carolina)
and Paul Thacker
(Associate Professor of Anthropology)

Sometimes students have to let go of a dream to open their minds to pursue a new one. If all had gone according to plan, senior Camille Morgan would be applying to veterinary schools. Instead, she discovered a passion for anthropology through the opportunities and guidance provided by Professor Paul Thacker. Read more »

Seth Rhoades
(St. Davids, Pennsylvania)
and Susan Fahrbach
(Reynolds Professor of Developmental Neuroscience)

Senior Seth Rhoades doesn’t plan on making a career out of researching bee brains. But the experience of analyzing the behavior of bees with Professor Susan Fahrbach helped him discover his aspirations. Read more »

Kendall Hack
(Hilton Head, South Carolina),
Rachel Handel
(Gaithersburg, Maryland),
Carrie Stokes
(Winston-Salem, North Carolina)
and Ananda Mitra
(Professor of Communication)

On a long car ride back to New Delhi after visiting the Taj Mahal, Kendall Hack, Rachel Handel and Carrie Stokes barely noticed the huge cow in the middle of the road, a common sight in India. After five weeks in India for a summer study-abroad communication class with Professor Ananda Mitra (MA ’86), seeing a cow in the road was notable not because it was unusual, but because of how unremarkable it seemed to them. Read more »

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