2017 Excellence in Mentoring of Doctoral Students Award: Dr. Suzanne Masterson

Dr. Suzanne Masterson with a student she hooded at the Spring 2017 graduation ceremony.

Dr. Suzanne Masterson with a student she hooded at the Spring 2017 graduation ceremony.

In the years following graduation, there are many details students forget about their time at the University of Cincinnati. They forget papers they’ve written, lectures they’ve attended, quizzes they’ve graded and books they’ve read. But they will undoubtedly remember the person that went above and beyond to guide them through their graduate education. For many business administration students, that person is Dr. Suzanne Masterson.

When a professor goes above and beyond expectations, they are more than just an educator —they become a trusted confidante, friend, and mentor. Each year, the Excellence in Doctoral Mentoring Award is presented to the graduate faculty member who best embodies what it means to be a mentor. Current and former students nominate the professors who demonstrate this outstanding and sustained guidance of doctoral students. These professors have put in the extra time and effort to make a lasting impact on the professional and personal lives of their students. This year, Dr. Suzanne Masterson from the Carl H. Lindner College of Business was honored with the Excellence in Mentoring of Doctoral Students Award.

Since joining the university in 1998, Dr. Masterson has played an integral role in the Lindner College of Business. The mentors who guided Dr. Masterson through her studies at the University of Maryland inspired her to do the same after graduation. Becoming a professor in the college’s thriving doctoral program offered Dr. Masterson the opportunity to give back through her own work with doctoral students. She has continued to serve the Lindner College of Business as a professor for almost 20 years, and doctoral program director for the past decade.

Dr. Suzanne Masterson

Dr. Suzanne Masterson

During this time, Dr. Masterson has certainly achieved the goal she set when first arriving at UC—to make a positive impact in the lives of doctoral students. To get a feel for the relationships she has built with countless students over the years, one only has to look to examples from her current students. Dr. Masterson worked beyond office hours to help Lakshmi Palaparambil Dinesh practice presentations and sharpen her teaching skills. She has coached Nathan Tong through his doctoral studies, always making the time to sit and chat with him no matter how busy her schedule is. And Marcia Lensges was able to publish her first research project in a respected management journal with the help of Dr. Masterson’s skillful instruction.

Students of Dr. Masterson speak not only of her willingness to give advice, but also the exceptional quality of her guidance. Dr. Masterson’s extensive research concerning organizational fairness translates into a passion for ensuring that each and every one of her mentees has the best experience possible, and takes those lessons with them as they move on to their own careers. “I try to give our PhD students a realistic preview of what an academic career entails, through an apprenticeship-style working relationship,” she says. “We get our PhD students involved in research from the very beginning of the program, and give them multiple teaching opportunities, as well as opportunities to get involved in service. I really want to ensure that students are fully prepared to succeed wherever they go, because they’ve already done it as a doctoral student at UC.”

Wherever her students go after graduation, Dr. Masterson remains steadfast in her role as mentor. She continues to provide support for the job decisions, research projects, and journal submissions they take on years after earning their degrees. Former student Dr. Sungdoo Kim summarized it best when he named her a “lifetime advisor.”

Dr. Masterson says, “I love the experience of working with a student through each of their important milestones, and having the rush of seeing them leap over the hurdle and move forward on their path. It’s an incredible feeling to watch students succeed and to know that I’ve been a part of their journey.” 

Written by Dakota Wright, Graduate Assistant to the Graduate School Office