David Yeager is a research grantee studying how growth mindset interventions can reduce socioeconomic disparities in college readiness. He has mentored four doctoral students, six postdoctoral fellows, and over 100 undergraduates in his lab over the last 15 years, the majority of whom were students of color or first-generation students. Yeager has also mentored and helped five lab managers enter top Ph.D. programs. He acknowledges that due to his positionality as a White, cisgender, heterosexual man, he has been afforded privilege. Through a previous mentoring grant, to support a Black doctoral student, Yeager learned that it is not enough to acknowledge his positionality and signal to mentees that he is aware of structural racism and interested in reducing it. Rather, it is necessary to be more intentional and direct in addressing these issues with his mentees through frank conversations, listening to their experiences, and spending time and effort working for equity. Yeager’s goals for this award are to continue his journey of learning and growing with respect to inequality, privilege, and positionality; to learn how to move toward more institutional change in his department and college; to increase his knowledge about the often hidden barriers that make it hard for junior faculty of color to get jobs and promoted through the ranks of the academy; and to gain a greater understanding of the undue burden of mentoring often placed on junior scholars of color and how he can mitigate it. This grant will support his mentee Kyle Dobson, a Black postdoctoral fellow at the University of Texas at Austin’s Population Research Center. Dobson’s program of research focuses on how organizations and workplaces can structure environments to promote feelings of authenticity for people with marginalized or underrepresented identities. Dobson’s goals for the award fall into three broad categories: writing and publishing; career strategic planning; and training in qualitative methodology.
Yeager will use this award to continue his journey of learning and growing with respect to inequality, privilege, and positionality, and to learn how to move toward more institutional change in his department and college.