2020 Mentoring Grants to Support Junior Researchers of Color

Two research grantees and two William T. Grant Scholars have been awarded grants to support their development as mentors to junior researchers of color. The awardees will mentor promising doctoral students and post-doctoral fellows in enhancing their methodological skills, publication records, and career networks.

The mentoring grants program is designed to help Scholars and research grantees hone their skills and abilities as mentors and help researchers of color reach higher levels on the career ladder. The award encourages grantees to be strong mentors attuned to the career development challenges disproportionately faced by their junior colleagues of color.

Applicants to the program assess their current strengths and weaknesses as mentors and propose goals for improving their mentoring skills. They and their mentees also assess the mentees’ strengths and weaknesses and design a mentoring plan that will strengthen the mentees’ potential for a successful research career.

This year’s mentoring grantees are:

Caitlin Farrell, University of Colorado Boulder
Caitlin Farrell is a research grantee. As Director of the National Center for Research in Policy and Practice (NCRPP), she has mentored a dozen post-doctoral fellows, graduate students, and undergraduate students. She has also led a bi-weekly qualitative research group that has supported the mentorship of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows involved in NCRPP projects. In these group settings, Farrell has addressed issues related to equity, voice, and privilege for junior scholars of color and female students of color, and, as a White woman, she recognizes how her race has provided her power and privilege in the academy and in general. With this grant, Farrell seeks to build her capacity for one-on-one mentoring and to develop a set of mentoring strategies supporting junior scholars of color that are: 1) driven by students’ voices, choices, and career goals, 2) intentional and proactive rather than reactive to specific situations, and 3) conducive to deeper self-reflection of how aspects of her own identity contribute to power and privilege in academic settings. The grant will support her mentee, Robbin Riedy, a Black Ph.D. candidate in Learning Sciences and Human Development at the University of Colorado Boulder whose research focuses broadly on promoting thriving and healthy communities through inclusive, equity-centered research-practice partnerships (RPPs). Riedy will extend the work of Farrell’s funded project on measuring RPP effectiveness to investigate the values that undergird participation in RPPs and how these values shape relationship-building and maintenance in RPPs.

Vincent Guilamo-Ramos, New York University
Vincent Guilam0-Ramos is a research grantee. With more than 20 years of experience mentoring students, post-doctoral fellows, and early career faculty and as Director of the NYU Center for Drug Use and HIV Research and the Associate Vice Provost of NYU’s Mentoring and Outreach Programs, he is uniquely positioned to improve mentoring relationships at a large scale. An accomplished Latino researcher, Guilamo-Ramos will use this grant to assist in the development of a university-wide evidence-based mentoring infrastructure that will directly support early career researchers of color. He also identifies two independent learning goals for the grant. First, he will learn about positionality in the context of mentoring relationships and apply lessons learned to the development of the NYU mentoring program, strengthening his own skills to mentor early career researchers of color for professional research/academic careers. Second, he will develop and disseminate mentoring support resources for early career faculty, with an emphasis on mentees and mentors of color. Guilamo-Ramos’s mentee, Lance Keene, an African American post-doctoral fellow at the NYU Center for Latino Adolescent and Family Health, explores participatory, youth-friendly, and community-based strategies to leverage the existing HIV treatment and prevention infrastructure for young sexual minority men of color as an opportunity to go beyond sexual health and to promote facilitators of long-term life opportunities. Together, Keene and Guilamo-Ramos will investigate the perspectives and experiences of young Black and Latino sexual minority men regarding multiple intersecting dimensions of inequality and the relationship of these factors to long-term life chances.

Daniel Schneider, Harvard University
Daniel Schneider is a second-year William T. Grant Scholar. He has mentored twenty doctoral students, some of whom have grown from advisees and research assistants to co-authors and colleagues. He has also advised and worked with other underrepresented graduate and undergraduate students as part of his Scholars research as well as through the McNair Scholars program and a training program for underrepresented undergraduate students interested in demography. Still, Schneider is acutely aware of how little he, a White man, knows about the challenges his students and mentees of color face. With this grant, he will pursue three learning goals for improving his mentoring of junior scholars of color: 1) to learn to maintain close and connected mentoring relationships that foster the development of students’ independent research agendas, 2) to develop strategies for providing students of color constructive and developmental feedback that does not undermine trust, and 3) to develop his toolkit of practices for advising junior scholars of color to extend beyond using his own experience as the basis for his advice. The award will support Allison Logan, a multiracial queer Latina doctoral student in her 5th year in the department of Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley. Logan’s research examines the impacts of direct state interventions into child well-being by comparing those aimed primarily at low-income families, such as welfare assistance and/or child protective services with those aimed at a larger range of families, such as parenting classes for divorced parents. Logan and Schneider will examine how parental exposure to unstable and unpredictable work schedules affects children’s sleep routines and sleep quality, and Logan will pursue her dissertation project on how institutions shape family practices.

Adela Soliz, Vanderbilt University
Adela Soliz is a first-year William T. Grant Scholar. As an early-career assistant professor, she has mentored close to forty master’s and undergraduate students and three doctoral students. A Latina quantitative researcher, Soliz has had to overcome challenges and develop strategies for navigating the academy on her own. With this grant she will pursue three learning goals to develop her capacity to support students’ intersectional identities. First, she will learn to support mentees through the relational aspects of being a researcher, such as collaborating and networking. Second, she will become more comfortable considering and supporting junior scholars of color and of multiple intersecting identities. Finally, Soliz will improve her skills in giving high-quality verbal and written feedback on mentees’ work. Soliz’s mentee, Hidahis Mesa, is a third-year doctoral student whose research is aimed at expanding postsecondary opportunities for traditionally marginalized low-income and underrepresented students of color. Soliz and Mesa will collaborate on a mixed-methods study examining strategies students use to navigate the vertical transfer pipeline from community college to bachelor’s degree attainment for low-income students and students of color.

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