My approach to advising and collaborating
My approach to mentoring students is guided by my belief that the recipe for success–no matter the context–is a combination of experience, perseverance, support/encouragement, and luck. As a mentor, I believe my role is to help students find and stick with their passions, recognize and hone their unique strengths, and attempt to model professional and personal behavior that fosters a positive outlook on career success. Given these values, my mentoring philosophy can be summarized as the following:
I believe my role as a faculty mentor is to…
- Challenge mentees to become independent and critical thinkers
- Identify and connect mentees to beneficial professional opportunities
- Build the confidence, network, and social capital of mentees
- Expose mentees to new and alternative perspectives
- Support and facilitate the development of mentees' professional identities
I find that I am able to pursue these ideals best by fostering mentoring relationships with both undergraduate and graduate students more as a “facilitator” rather than “supervisor.” The opportunity to work with, learn from, and contribute to the development of student collaborators is among the very best parts of my job. This page provides a brief overview of my approach to mentoring both graduate and undergraduate students. If you are interested in working with me, please check out the pages for prospective PhD students and undergraduate research assistants to see if I’m currently recruiting and for more information on what it is like to work with me and my lab.
GRADUATE STUDENT MENTORING
I believe strongly in the importance of graduate students developing a professional identity that is uniquely their own. To this end, I approach graduate education as a true apprenticeship and consider my advisees as essentially junior colleagues for whom it is my job to support and help succeed. This means that I do not just tell my advisees what they should do or how they should do it nor do I simply give them ready-made projects to complete. I prefer to allow graduate students to have their own input and work together with me jointly to develop research. Additionally, I frequently support my advisees’ interests in pursuing topics of study and educational opportunities that may not be directly relevant/applicable to my ongoing work or areas of research. Although this can result in a more diffuse focus in our work and places a heavy onus and sense of personal accountability on my advisees, I believe these experiences are critical to graduate education as they help to simultaneously broaden one’s skillsets while establishing a unique specialization.
To ensure that my advisees are still making progress towards important milestones, I typically hold weekly one-on-one meetings to discuss both collaborative and independent project work, as well as converse about new ideas, methodologies, and topics of mutual interest. I also conduct a more formalized feedback session with each of my graduate students at least once a year (outside of and in addition to any feedback they receive from standard department-/program-level reviews) in which we discuss accomplishments, reflect on areas/competencies where they feel they are doing well and those where they would like to improve, and talk about career plans and goals for achieving them.
UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT MENTORING
Outside of my role as an instructor, I tend to have three primary areas of opportunity for mentoring undergraduate students:
- The first is with undergraduate students who volunteer to work in my lab as research assistants (RAs). I strive to maintain an active research lab with approximately 4-6 undergraduate RAs per semester. Although this is a smaller number of students than in many other labs, I find that this allows me to develop more meaningful and developmental relationships and fits my mentoring and working style better. I hold bi-weekly lab meetings for the lab in which we converse about ongoing studies, discuss papers of interest selected and led by undergraduate students, and talk about procedures, advice, and concerns related to graduate school and careers in psychology. We also use time in our lab to work on student-led projects for the department’s undergraduate research fair.
- The second is with undergraduate students who volunteer to work as teaching assistants (TAs) for the undergraduate courses I lead. I usually aim to have 1-2 undergraduate TAs in my courses if possible. In semesters where I’m fortunate to have student TAs, we meet on a biweekly basis to discuss class operations, basic principles of pedagogy, assessment design, and student engagement. TAs are also given the opportunity to develop and deliver a “mini-lecture” on a topic of their choosing to the class. In addition to helping come up with and practicing the material, I provide developmental feedback after the mini-lecture to provide students with suggestions and ideas for continuing to improve the communication and teaching skills.
- The third is through impromptu meetings with students who contact me and just want to talk. Outside of my normal office hours, I do my best to make myself available to meet with both current and former students to talk about the field of IO psychology, offer advice about internships, graduate school, or careers, and to review application materials for jobs, schools, and fellowships.