Simone Ispa-Landa is a second-year William T. Grant Scholar who has had success in mentoring graduate students of color as well as women. However, she recognizes that balancing sustained attention and care to graduate students with other professional obligations can be an obstacle to achieving trusting bonds with mentees who do not share her background as a White woman, and that she also could develop stronger skills in providing useful and relevant critical feedback to her mentees. She seeks to improve her mentoring in two ways. First, she will develop work routines that facilitate strong, trusting ties with graduate students of color in more structured, intentional, and planned ways. Second, she hopes to learn strategies for communicating with students of color around challenging and sensitive issues, including conversations about the quality of the mentoring relationship. The research interests of Ispa-Landa’s mentee, Christopher Leatherwood, a third-year African American doctoral student in the department of Learning Sciences at Northwestern University, center on how mathematics classrooms influence marginalized students’ identities as learners, as well as ways to increase Black students’ sense of mathematical self-efficacy and ability to learn from errors.
Ispa-Landa will use this award to develop work routines that facilitate strong, trusting ties with graduate students of color in more structured, intentional, and planned ways.