Max Kurz, Ph.D.: Outstanding Mentor of Graduate Students

April 16, 2018

Image with caption: Max Kurz, Ph.D.

Max Kurz, Ph.D.

Max Kurz, Ph.D. associate professor, physical therapy, Munroe-Meyer Institute, will receive the Outstanding Faculty Mentor of Graduate Students Award at the annual Faculty Senate Awards ceremony, at 4 p.m., April 24 in the Durham Research Center Auditorium.

  • Name: Max Kurz, Ph.D.
  • Title: Associate professor, physical therapy, Munroe-Meyer Institute
  • Joined UNMC: 2008
  • Hometown: Omaha

How many graduate students do you work with?
I currently have four students that are working closely with me on experiments and are some of my best collaborators. They all come from unique backgrounds: engineering, physical therapy, occupational therapy and neuroscience.

What are the greatest rewards of mentoring?
I am selective on the number of students that I mentor in my laboratory. I see mentoring students in the same way I mentor my own children. Mentoring requires a considerable amount of effort, nurturing and patience. I am available to listen to their perspectives and to consult them how to best meet their own goals. This extends even beyond their graduate training as I see them as part of my family. Seeing them succeed in their experimental work, achieve external awards, become wicked smart, and well sought after post-doctoral and faculty candidates is very rewarding. Frankly, their success is my reward.

Describe a moment when you realized your influence made a difference in someone's career.
I want students working in my lab to exceed my knowledge base and lab skills. I feel that all of my students have met or exceeded these criteria upon graduation. This is a unique situation because the student becomes the teacher. In my opinion, this is important because they transition into a collaborator. When the students make this transition, I realize that I have made a difference in their career development. Furthermore, this comes to fruition when I see them achieve new faculty and post-doctoral positions and begin to build their own line of experimental work. All of my students have had their own success after graduating, which has helped me to realize that my approach to mentoring is working. That being said, each of my students have also helped me to further refine my craft.

List three things few people know about you.

  • I run each day with a headlamp and my dog before the sun comes up.
  • My wife, Sara, is a pharmacist with Nebraska Medicine.
  • I have fished for and caught sharks out of a kayak in the Gulf of Mexico and look forward to doing it again.


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