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I'm writing up my Teaching Statement for an Assistant Professor position in the sciences. Because all I do is read and write science, I have no elegance in my writing at all! I'm trying to make the last sentence sound better:

I have been fortunate enough to work with some great mentors in my life journey thus far. Integrity, compassion, and selfless care for students were role-modeled for me on a day-to-day basis, teaching me things far beyond academics. It has been a life-long goal to attempt to replicate them.

I'm trying to express that it has been a life-long goal of mine to pass-on what great mentors in my life have done for me to future students. They took me under their wings and provided important role-modeling, perspective, and guidance in my life when I was a drifting early-twenty-something male.

Is there a nice and succinct way of writing this? Is there a phrase or an expression that has the same meaning as the highlighted text in the provided context? Is there a word that could replace "attempt to replicate them" to make it more concise?

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    Emulate is a more appropriate word here than replicate. – Kit Z. Fox Apr 27 '15 at 19:35
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    You can get dramatic with the expression, "follow in their footsteps" but as Kit said, "emulate" is the most concise and succinct word for that sentence. – Kristina Lopez Apr 27 '15 at 19:39
  • Thanks! Those two suggestions are both very helpful! Is there a formal way of expression my desire to "pass-on" or "pay back the system"? – Kent Apr 27 '15 at 19:42
  • 'Emulate' is certainly more person-orientated, and includes the sense of 'good role model'. But you really need a persons referent (emulate my teachers?) You ask so nicely that it seems churlish to point out that writing advice isn't really on-topic here (your original being grammatical, we've nothing to analyse). – Edwin Ashworth Apr 27 '15 at 19:50
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    I am wondering why you would say It has been my life-long goal to attempt to emulate them. Is to attempt necessary? It surely cannot have been a life-long goal to make an attempt, can it? But it may well have taken life-long to succeed! – WS2 Apr 27 '15 at 21:03
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Your final sentence should be more personal and more action-oriented. Show them your passion through personal language. Sweep them off their feet with action-oriented language.

Answering your specific question, I would write "...to give my students what my mentors gave me." You bear the burden of a great gift and hear the call to pass it on. Action-oriented language leads the reader to feel the same sweep of history.

Additionally, your final sentence should be more personal. "It has been a life-long goal..." doesn't connect you to the act of passing your gift on. This is your passion; let them see the fire. Try "I long to give my students what my mentors gave me." You could also use "feel the call" or "am called" or "am driven".

(Good luck, the world needs more like you.)

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