2014 Mentoring Grants to Support Junior Researchers of Color

Three William T. Grant Scholars will be receiving Mentoring Grants this year. Donald Chi, Adriana Galvan, and Tamara Leech will receive support to enhance their mentoring relationships with young researchers of color.

“Academics generally receive strong technical and methodological training, but less support around mentorship,” said Vivian Tseng, vice president of program. “This grant fosters the development of Scholars’ mentoring skills, and at the same time advances the capacities of the mentees—our next generation of researchers.”

The Scholars Mentoring Grant was designed to support the professional development of William T. Grant Scholars and help researchers of color reach higher levels on the career ladder. The award facilitates the growth of Scholars as strong mentors attuned to the career development challenges disproportionately faced by their junior colleagues of color. It also helps mentees become more skilled researchers with broader professional networks.

To qualify for this award, William T. Grant Scholars must be in the first three years of the five-year program. Mentees must be full-time doctoral students or post-doctoral fellows. Applicants submit a mentoring plan that helps the junior researcher develop stronger research skills and professional networks while cultivating the mentor’s skills. Applications are screened for the quality of the proposed mentoring plan and research projects, and the junior researcher’s promise for a career in research.

This year’s Scholars mentoring grantees are:

Donald Chi is an associate professor in oral health sciences at the University of Washington. Chi wants to use this award to improve his mentoring across gender lines and to study formal mentoring models. His mentee, Stephanie Cruz is a third year Latina doctoral student in the Department of Anthropology. Their research will focus on how research informs class action lawsuits involving state Medicaid programs. They will examine cases in five states where litigation resulted in policies aimed at improving access to dental care.


Adriana Galván is an assistant professor in psychology at UCLA. Galvan’s dual goals are: 1) to help students focus on their weaknesses as well as their strengths; and 2) to become more attentive to how race and ethnicity impact students’ perceptions of academia and their career trajectories.

Her mentee, Diane Goldenberg, is a third year Latina doctoral student in the Department of Psychology. Galván will mentor Goldenberg in examining how social environments influence brain development among low-income and minority youth.


Tamara Leech is an associate professor in public health at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. She seeks to gain skills in integrating advanced students into an intellectual community and providing structured support to scholars of color. Her mentee, Amy Irby-Shasanmi, is an African-American doctoral student in the Department of Sociology at Indiana University. This award will support her postdoctoral work with Leech to examine resilience in low-income communities. They seek to counter the deficit orientation that characterizes much of the literature by studying the processes that enable communities to curb violence.