Mentoring and Career Development: 2021 Becker and Chu

Becker will use this award to make intentional space for reflection about how her and her mentees’ racial identities shape their experiences in academia.

Kimberly Becker is a research grantee studying the use of research evidence in mental health. She has mentored three postdoctoral fellows, fourteen graduate students, and more than thirty undergraduate students, and has helped students win grant funding, serve as lead authors and co-authors on peer-reviewed publications, and present at conferences. While 50% of the graduate students and 75% of the undergraduate students in her research lab are people of color, Becker states that she has not reflected thoroughly on her positionality as a White middle-class woman and how it affects her mentoring relationships, nor has she fully explored the experiences of junior scholars of color. Becker’s mentee is Wendy Chu, a Chinese American doctoral student at the University of South Carolina. Becker and Chu have co-developed goals for the mentoring grant across five domains: Mentorship, Technical Skills, Scholarship, Career Development, and Engaging Others. Within these domains, Becker aims to make intentional space for reflection about how her and Chu’s racial identities shape their experiences in academia and their mentoring relationship; strengthen support for Chu’s writing, research, and statistical skills; expand her own content expertise about racial disparities across policy areas; strengthen her understanding of career development for scholars of color; and confront racism in academia to promote a diverse and inclusive organizational climate. Chu’s goals include incorporating her identities into her research/career goals; learning to communicate what she expects from mentoring in general and from Becker in particular; developing her writing skills to become a more independent writer; publishing two first-authored manuscripts and developing content expertise in racial inequalities in mental healthcare and in the use of research evidence; developing her identity as a community-engaged researcher; and connecting with graduate students of color in her department and at her university around issues of mentoring and professional development.