Taher, a family physician, has mentored many students and alumni through the Northwestern Network Mentorship Program (NNMP). She’s been working recently with senior Lucy Liu ’22, who is interested in a career in medicine and public health.

In the interview, Taher shares her reasons for mentoring, what she’s gained from the experience, and both Taher and Liu impart the best career advice they’ve ever received.

“I joined the Northwestern Network Mentorship Program for three main reasons: to help mentees through challenges they might perceive as insurmountable, to answer their questions with complete transparency, and to empower them to appreciate their own value, whether they continue along their current career path or veer into another one,” Taher says.

“I can honestly say that I have enjoyed every second of my mentoring experiences. When I speak to my mentees, I’m reminded of the same questions I had at a similar stage in my career. But I’m most struck by the novel ways in which they have pursued their careers thus far. It’s clear to me that their unique and independent experiences will have a positive impact on my own field.”

"I wanted to make myself available for anyone who might have the types of questions that I had when I attended Northwestern and help them understand different perspectives and contexts".

The best career advice Taher ever received, she says, came from her dad. “’Don’t pressure yourself to check off all the ‘right’ boxes just to reach your career goals,’ he told me. ‘If you are invested in what you are doing, your enthusiasm and accomplishments will take you where you want to be.’

Liu, Taher’s mentee, was seeking advice on potential career paths when the two were paired through the NNMP.

“This program was the best way for me to find connections, because Northwestern provides a simple platform to connect to alumni who are willing to help,” Liu says. “Through participating in the NNMP, I’ve been able to reflect on the interests and passions that I want to pursue. I’ve also gained communication skills while connecting with alumni professionally.”

One insight Liu’s already gleaned? “Throughout your career, your priorities will change,” she says. “And that’s okay.”

Three Questions with Samara Taher MD ’06 and Lucy Liu ’22