I came across this piece this weekend, which puts David Lake's career into excellent perspective. I don't know if the Lego Movie reference, Master Builder, was intentional or not, but it works.
Over the course of my career, some folks have thought that I was a David Lake student. Nope, he arrived at UCSD as I was finishing. His first major project upon arrival was a multi-workshop effort to figure out whether ethnic conflict spreads (my contribution: it doesn't) and how to manage it. I got invited to participate as my work at the time was very much on the international relations of ethnic conflict. This first encounter with David demonstrated how sharp he was and how great a builder of a collaborative community he is. I have been involved in a number of edited volume projects since, but none matched my first for the insights I received from those around the table, including the guy with no previous background in the stuff.
Over the courses, I asked David for advice and for letters of recommendation, and he was always most generous. When I had three students on the job market at the exact same time, I sought David out as he has much experience dealing with that situation. He provided me with some great suggestions, and I followed them. All three got tenure track jobs on their own merits, but David's advice helped me not get in their way.
Of course, the best evidence of David's excellence as an adviser are the heaps of former students I keep bumping into. I have always been impressed by them and by what they have to say about David.
Anyhow, most happy that David has been recognized for his contributions, and glad to add to the pile of kudos.
"When I had three students on the job market at the exact same time, I sought David out as he has much experience dealing with that situation. He provided me with some great suggestions, and I followed them."
I'd be fascinated to know what that advice was, if you're comfortable sharing.
I am not sure I remember all of it. The keys were to write letters for each that emphasized their strengths without negative comparisons with my other students, not to pre-judge and try to figure out which student to promote for which job since job descriptions are slippery things.
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