When mentoring a student, I am most interested in seeing how I can help them best articulate what their own long-term goals are, independent of what the dominant academic/career trends are at a given moment and then working with them to develop a plan to realize those goals that is also sensitive to how they are likely to be judged with respect to the profession at large. I was privileged to have mentors who were excellent at advising me on research issues, but I felt that I could have had more targeted mentoring on professionalization. Because of this, when I am in the position of mentor, I try to address both issues. As a white male from an upper middle class background, I am not part of an underrepresented group. This clearly limits the kinds of mentoring that I can offer to members of such groups. What I believe I can offer such individuals is insights into academic culture. My father was a career college administrator and I have been in academic positions for my whole professional career. I also have contributed a significant amount of service to my discipline. This has given me a broad view of the norms of academic culture, which I am happy to try to explain to any interested student.
Jeff adds: I am a father to two children and have had to work out how to balance parental obligations with professional ones (to mixed success).
Jeff adds: My research has put me in touch with individuals working on human language technologies. This gives me some ideas about how to pursue careers in that area.