Style match leads one mentee to become a mentor himself

Early in Peter Kurahashi’s academic career, Un-Ku Moon recognized something special in the electrical engineering major.  Not only was Kurahashi the top-ranked student in the department academically, “Peter is amazingly well-balanced,” Moon says. “He’s smart, but not a show-off.”

Fooling around

Having fun, Un-Ku Moon (left) found the student he was mentoring, Peter Kurahashi, not only an excellent student but a fine mentor himself. (photo: Jim Folts)

Moon’s teaching style helped spur Kurahashi’s interest in electronics. “The way he pictures circuits is the same as the approach I take to engineering problems,” Kurahashi says. “We’re a good fit. His style is less methodical and more intuitive of how things work. When I went into circuit design, it really fit my way of thinking.”

Like most engineering students, Kurahashi completed internships through the Multiple Engineering Cooperative Program (MECOP). At Planar Systems, he tested liquid-crystal displays and helped develop an optical touch screen.

He spent another internship at Hewlett-Packard working on molecular memory, feedback-controlled electromigration and nano break-junctions.

After earning his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 2004, Kurahashi went straight into the Ph.D. program, focusing on integrated circuit design and low-voltage analog circuits. He expects to complete his degree next year.

Kurahashi also has mentored undergraduate students, helping them see beyond the technical side of engineering. “I like to think I’m a good influence on how to go about being a good engineer, doing well,” he says.

“By mentoring people and encouraging them to mentor others, it cascades — everybody helps each other as much as they can.”
For Moon, working with a student like Kurahashi has been very rewarding “because he does things so well,” he says. At the same time, Moon believes there is “always a reward in mentoring, always a positive result in the end.”

“Mentoring is teaching people to mentor others,” Moon says. “It’s not just about engineering; it’s about thinking bigger.”

~ by Gary Dulude

Comments are closed.