Christine Pfund, Angela Byars-Winston help advisers connect with top PhD students from underrepresented groups
December 7, 2020 | By Karen Rivedal, WCER Communications
In the development of future academic scientists, few individuals are more central to success than good mentors.
Mentors can help students navigate different career paths and grow their professional networks. They can be advocates, teachers, sounding boards, motivators, supporters and role models.
But what if mentors and their advisees don’t share the same racial, ethnic, cultural or socio-economic backgrounds? How can differences impact their relationship?
Mentorship education experts at UW−Madison’s Wisconsin Center for Education Research, part of the School of Education, are striving to answer these questions, while they help build more inclusive lab environments across the country and increase diversity in the next generation of university-based science leaders through mentorship education.
Since 2016, WCER researchers Christine Pfund and Angela Byars-Winston have been improving the mentoring relationships between a large and growing group of the nation’s top PhD students in the sciences and their dissertation advisers. The students, all from diverse backgrounds historically underrepresented in the sciences, and their advisers are dual awardees and participants in the Gilliam Fellowships for Advanced Study, a research-supporting program of the renowned Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) in Chevy Chase, Maryland.