Mentoring: A passion to facilitate dreams. Calling a “virtual family reunion” for my mentees

Today, I had the wonderful opportunity to have a picture taken with a subset of my awesome team in my (not-so-neat) office and it reminded me of a recent request. I have been asked to present a list of my mentees! This is an exciting prospect and an awesome responsibility. I’ve always had a passion for mentoring as it is an opportunity to share what I’ve learned, so that others can move closer toward their dreams. Since I no longer run a lab, I don’t have a set group of mentees that is similar to that of an active professor. Therefore, I decided to see if there might be a way to bring everyone together online. This helps me, but I also want all of you to know each other and have each other as a resource. I’d like to think of this as a “virtual family reunion” of mentees. If I have helped to mentor you in some way, please share as a comment to this post: a) Your name, academic discipline, and where our mentoring relationship began (e.g., NSBE, SHPE, HU, NU, UMBC, PROMISE, MIT MSRP, your school), b) what you are doing now, and c) your current website, if applicable. Further, if you are interested in sharing your next steps … your future dreams, please share them! Perhaps together, we can connect to facilitate your next milestones! Thank you for allowing me to be in your lives. It has been my honor to work with you!

Staff meeting in my office with a subset of our group, September 2014.

Today’s “after-the-meeting” staff meeting (part 2)  in my office with a subset of our group. I’m very blessed to be working with some extremely talented people!

69 replies »

  1. Hello!
    Well, what can I say that I have not told you before? You are one of the most relevant mentors in my career. The things I am doing today and the things I am planning on doing in the future have been “shaped” by your knowledge and expertise.
    So, let me get started with my info. Miguel Nino, Ph.D student in Instructional Design & Technology and Learning Science at Virginia Tech. We started our mentoring relationship when I went to UMBC during my junior year as part of the Horizons program. You started mentoring me then about graduate school. Four years later, as part of the master’s program at UMBC, I became your graduate assistant at PROMISE. Two years of the full mentoring for my career and for my doctoral studies. You helped me, not only with a strong letter of recommendation, but also with tips to apply to my PhD program, securing funding, and working in a multidisciplinary environment. Your mentoring has also allowed me to get more involved with the field of engineering education.
    Now, even though I am at VT, we still continue this relationship. When I have had some key questions about my studies and career, you have been always there to help. Also, the mentoring relationship has continued through the papers we have published.
    Currently, I am a GEDI Fellow at Virginia Tech – part of my functions is to peer mentor students interested in becoming faculty. Also, I am part of the Learning Transformation Research Group and my research focuses on the use of learning games in formal education.
    I also mentor other students who have come to the United States to pursue their studies and those who are interested in becoming part of the e-learning community.
    The future? I will definitely like to continue in higher education with my research in collaborative and informal learning, as a faculty or admin position. Also, I would like to consult with companies in the use of innovations in e-learning and instructional products.
    I am going to be relaunching my website soon, but for now, some info about me can be found at
    Thank you for everything! Without you as a mentor, I would have not made it this far…that is for sure.
    Miguel Nino

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Greetings! Wow! Dr. Tull, this is AWESOME news, and well deserved! I do not know where to begin! My name is Shawnisha Hester and I am a recent graduate of the University of Maryland School of Social Work, where I graduated with my second Master’s in Social Work, with the support and encouragement of the phenomenal Dr. Tull. I’m holding back tears as I reflect on all of the things that she has done for me. I stand where I am today due to her unwavering support, love and encouragement. I unofficially met Dr. Tull nine years ago when I was a senior in college, where she sat in the back of my McNair class and had the responsibility of preparing us for research presentations. My official mentoring relationship started shortly thereafter while I was a graduate student at UMBC working on my first Master’s in Applied Sociology. The circumstances of encountering Dr. Tull were unfortunate (I was having major issues in my department); however, her undying belief in my potential and desire to finish my degree sparked a relationship that has gotten stronger over the years and is still in place today. Not only did Dr. Tull refer me to the appropriate people to address my grievances, she continued to be a person of support when I needed someone to talk to, run ideas pass and get advice from. Throughout this time, I got to share a little bit about my personal self with Dr. Tull. She saw my love of photography and encouraged me to share my work and pursue projects that displayed my abilities. Although Dr. Tull and I have totally different educational backgrounds and areas of interest, that did not hinder her impact on me. She was always been an active listener and quick to brainstorm to offer ideas and suggestions. Dr. Tull has always seen the possibility in me, even in instances where I have not seen it in myself. At times, which is more often than not, she knows me better than I know myself. Dr. Tull was ALWAYS available and ready to give you her full, undivided attention. Her encouragement, support and time spent with me has gotten me to the place where I currently am. Dr. Tull sees the possibility in her students and she fosters that so that you can grow and develop and be the best person you can be. She gives of herself tirelessly and without complaint. She is ALWAYS accessible and quick to offer a suggestion or much needed words of encouragement. Dr. Tull is truly phenomenal and I would not be the person I am today without having her in my life. Currently, I am the Creative Consultant working alongside Dr. Tull and the PROMISE team. In addition, I am Licensed Graduate Social Worker (LGSW) in Maryland where I work as a Psychiatric Rehabilitation Coordinator working part of an interdisciplinary team where I provide mental health and support services to adolescents and adults. In a way, I have the opportunity to mentor my clients and full from them their best selves. Without having Dr. Tull as such a fine example of how to do that and what true mentorship looks like, I do not believe I would be as good at my job. With Dr. Tull’s continued interest and support of my endeavor, I would say that my future looks bright. My goal is to tell stories of those who suffer from mental illness and work with the elderly, in addition to giving back. I want to capture and tell stories one photograph at a time, and with the support of Dr. Tull, I’m sure I will reach those goals. Words truly does not seem adequate enough to convey the impact that Dr. Tull has had on my life. I will forever be indebted to her for the impact that she has had on both my personal and professional life. I am truly blessed to have the pleasure to be the recipient of such wonderful mentorship. No one deserves this award as much as Dr. Tull! Dr. Tull, I’ve said it time and time again, but THANK YOU for EVERYTHING!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Name: Robin Brewer
    Academic Discipline: Computer Science/Human-Computer Interaction
    Mentoring Relationship: I first met Dr. Tull when I entered UMBC as a bushy-tailed and bright-eyed first year PhD student in the Bridge to Doctorate program. I was instantly attracted to her bounds of energy and amazing communication skills. Shortly thereafter I began to see the genius within that did so much on campus and off. I love being a DTM (Dr. Tull mentee 🙂 and just hearing her stories whether it’s previous graduate school or NSBE stories, or even trying to learn her secrets of grant writing. I’ve even begun mentoring a small group of students in NSBE to pursue/continue with their PhD’s in HCI. I truly respect Dr. Tull as the hardest-working leader I’ve ever met and best motivator in town. THANK YOU for mentoring me at UMBC and now at Northwestern!

    p.s. I love this Virtual Family Reunion idea!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Miguel A. Acosta, Ph.D.
    Post-doctoral Fellow
    UNC/NCSU Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering
    North Carolina State University

    I had the privilege of meeting Dr. Tull for the first time during one of her trips to PR. This was in 2004. It has been 10 years. She had a table set to represent UMBC and PROMISE. With lots of gold and black color trims and a big smile on her face. I ran into her as I strolled through the hallway. Curious, I stopped by and we had a short conversation that later led to a chain of events that would forever changed my life.

    I owe everything that I have been able to accomplish since then to her. From entering and completing graduate school, to even my current job and the connections I have built here that have allowed me to continue to be successful and move forward. I cannot express the pride that I feel in being able to call myself a “mentee” of Dr. Tull’s. I will forever do so, regardless of my situation. I am yet to meet someone with the same willingness to be an active part of your life and development as she has. As such, I have been forever spoiled to expect that same effort from figures I look up to and the people I relate to. I have been often disappointed. She is clearly one of a kind and I am so very happy to have had that chance encounter 10 years ago in PR.

    There is no award she could ever win that would measure up to the gratitude that most of us feel towards her efforts. If anything, one should be made for her with her name on it. There should be other professors, scientist, and/or workers that should strive to receive such award, for it is not just mentoring. It is not just about mentoring. It goes beyond that and I did not even have to ask. She believed in me, when very few did.

    Thank you for believing in me Dr. Tull. You have my eternal respect and I will always be at your service.

    Forever in your debt;

    –Miguel A. Acosta, Ph.D.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Howdy Dr. Tull,

    My info:

    Hector Medina, Electrical and Mechanical Engineering, and our mentoring relationship began at SACNAS (2009) in Dallas, TX.

    I’m currently pursuing a PhD at UMBC in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, and my research is in Biomedical Engineering. We are working on improving contrast in image acquisition using radiographic grids.

    My next steps, short-term goals are to propose my research this Fall semester, and the plan is to defend in a year. Future dreams? That is a tougher question, but I have been considering teaching lately. I’m still uncertain on which path I will follow to get there. I definitely know I would like to make a change, and at some point in time look back and see I have made an impact as big as the one you have made on me Dr. Tull. I will be forever grateful for the opportunities you have facilitated, and I just wanted to thank you. It has been MY honor working with you!

    Muchas gracias Dr. Tull,

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Hi Dr. Tull,

    I love the idea of having a virtual family reunion. I am sure you have mentee’s spread out through different places; so providing the opportunity to meet each other (through this venue) is very nice from you. You are definitively passionate about mentorship and helping underrepresented groups. I admire you for that, because you are a true mentor. I remember our first conversation, and not long after that talk you were sending me information about different opportunities and taking me under your wing. In a very short time I have been able to accomplish many things only because I had your help. Therefore, I feel lucky to be part of this family and I thank you for that. I am sure you are making the different in many lives. Thank you!

    Hello everyone,

    I would like to introduce myself; I am Lourdes Medina, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Industrial Engineering at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez. I met Dr. Tull at the ADVANCE for Hispanic Women in STEM activities made in Puerto Rico. Dr. Tull had a key role in this activity, as one of the responsible for making the proposal that would secure the funds for this activity. I felt inspired by her talks during the two conferences, which motivated me to reach out to chat with her. We could not talk during the conference, but we had a nice phone conversation short after. Since then, we have stayed in touch and Dr. Tull has helped me find and apply for different opportunities. I admire her hard work and she has become a role model for me. So, as my next steps I am working towards getting my promotion and tenure. For that, I am submitting many proposals and papers. But also, I would like to make a difference and have an impact on underrepresented groups. I would like to pay it forward and help others like Dr. Tull has helped me!

    Liked by 3 people

  7. My name is Serenella Linares and I am pursuing a second Master’s degree, in the Plant Sciences Department at University of Maryland – College Park.

    Dr. Tull,

    It is wonderful news to hear about your application for a mentoring award. Since I met you during my early bachelor degree stages at UMET, I have seen how much effort you invest in helping students fulfill their dreams of pursuing a higher education. Take myself for example, while at UMET (around 2002-2003) and I would see you every year at the Research Symposium helping students present their work, or giving information about UMBC, or serving as a judge during presentations. In other words, doing everything you could to help those around you. Every year back at the symposium, I would see you again, even while I was attending Howard University for my masters degree. Being geographically closer to you, you started to invite me, and my friend Maria, to attend seminars to help us understand and navigate this process of being a graduate student. Then, after I started my current journey at University of Maryland, you have really help me to push forward. Thanks to you, and your efforts through the PROMISE program many students like myself have discovered that we are not alone, that there is a community of students going through similar experiences. In many occasions activities organized by you through the PROMISE program have been an extremely needed battery charge that has kept me going. Even for my first publication, when I needed someone to help me edit it, at the time you were the only person available to help me with it. Thanks to our brunch, and subsequent phone conversation I have a publication.

    It is impossible for me to put into words all that I have seen you do over these 10+ years, or how much it has meant for me; however, I will summarize it by saying that they will be hard pressed to find a more deserving individual.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Hello Dr. Tull. Congratulations on being asked to submit such a noteworthy and well-deserved application! Dr. Tull, you have been an amazing mentor for me for the past 10 years, and I don’t know how I would have survived graduate school and been prepared to enter the workforce without your help.

    My name is Heather Holden, and I met Dr. Tull during my second year as a Masters student in UMBC’s Information Systems Program. Prior to meeting her and becoming involved in the PROMISE Program, I felt as if I was going through grad school alone. I was doing okay in school, but my plan was just to get through remainder of my degree and move on. After meeting Dr. Tull and joining PROMISE, I realized that I was destined for so much more. I also realized the importance of being a mentor for others to also help them achieve there dreams. She taught me the necessary skills and characteristics of becoming a working professional. The professional development activities they she introduced me to are still momumental in my professional growth today. Within a year of being part of PROMISE as a mentor and member as well as being mentored by Dr. Tull, I decided to continue my education and pursue a PhD in Information Systems at UMBC. What is especially amazing about Dr. Tull is that her mentorship continues well after I graduated from UMBC, and I consider her as my life-long mentor! She exposed me to the many opportunities and possibilities that i could take advantage of with my PhD degree. I currently work for the Army Research Laboratory as an Adaptive Tutoring Scientist; however, going back to higher education has passion of mine for quite some time. This is primarily due to the mentorship that recieved from Dr. Tull and others in the PROMISE Program. She showed me how rewarding it is to help others achieve their dreams just like she had done for me! I’m please to say that I recently accepted a position as a full-time faculty member for Mount Washington College’s Information Technology Department! I’m excited about the possiblity of mentoring future students just like I was mentored through school!

    I recall asking myself in grad school, how does she do it? How does she juggle and cater to all of these students? The answer is simple: She is truly committed, hardworking, and cares about our success. These qualities have been evident through the entire time I’ve known her.
    Words cannot describe how much Dr. Tull has made a profound impact in my life. She is a role model for many, including myself, and deserves this award with no reservation. Thank you, Dr. Tull, for all that you do! Thank you for showing me that I am destined for greatness! I can only hope to be as wonderful as a mentor as you are to my students in the future.

    Best Regards,
    Heather Holden, PhD

    Liked by 2 people

  9. WE ARE FAMILY!!! I’VE GOT ALL MY PhDs and ME!! Yes! AN ACADEMIC FAMILY REUNION! To make this a true family reunion, I’m reaching out (Facebook tagging, texting, LinkedINing) people that Dr. Tull’s mentoring has put me in contact with and/or whom she may have also mentored. If Dr. Tull is one of the reasons you and I have an “academic family” relationship, please also provide a comment on Dr. Tull’s mentoring blog post ( on how she has mentored you! It can be as few as 4-5 lines or extensive but please take a moment to provide a comment.

    If we haven’t connected in a while, I will also be reaching out to you to make this a true virtual academic family reunion! So here goes:

    Frances Carter-Johnson (
    UMBC, M.S. Physics 2007, Ph.D. Public Policy, 2011
    Currently a AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow at NIH, Center for Scientific Review

    Dr. Tull has been a consistent mentor for me from my initial introduction to UMBC through Dr. Anthony Johnson. The most impactful mentoring experiences have included but are not limited to:

    o Emailed and called me as a prospective student from MS State in 2003 to introduce me to current UMBC graduate students, Adrienne Starks, Shahza Sommerville, Alicia Sparks and Deatrick Foster, which has facilitated lifelong scientific, professional and personal relationships.
    o Worked with Dr. Janet Rutledge to maximize utilization of several graduate fellowships including GEM, GAAAN, and NSF to complete my masters in physics.

    Academic and Career Transitions
    o Worked with Drs. Hrabowksi and Rutledge to present, encourage and facilitate an innovative career transition for me from pursuing a PhD in Physics to one in public policy, conducting STEM education analysis and evaluation. This mentoring allowed me to complete my PhD when in a normal situation I may have stopped after facing obstacles while pursing a PhD in physics. I also formed a community with scholars in public policy including Faizah Carr, Arnell Garrett, Steve Hemelt, Matea Pender, Nichole Stewart, Evan Pearlman, and Gloria Anglon.
    o Requested and mentored Patti Ordonez and myself to create and facilitate graduate funding workshops at UMBC from 2007 to the present. Dr. Ordonez and I became PROMISE Fellowship Peer Mentors and successfully completed PhDs while presenting these workshops nationally and internationally. To date, over 30 students from places such as UMBC, MIT, Spelman, and Clemson have successfully won the NSF GRF and other prestigious fellowships using workshop techniques. Dissemination about workshop with conference presentations and papers based on workshop evaluations. I would never have done this workshop had it not been for her mentoring. By conducting the workshops, I connected with Monica Orta.

    Professional Develop and Publication Opportunities
    o Encouraged me to seek mentors beyond UMBC for dissertation committee and professional development at Westat such as Hollee and
    o Recommendations for faculty applications in 2010-2011 and current career planning for pursuit of faculty positions in the future.
    o Recommendations for a postdoc at MIT.
    o Evaluation projects with NSF ADVANCE Hispanic Women NETWORKing Conference and subsequent publication opportunities.
    o International travel opportunities to conduct research and evaluations.
    o Peer Reviewed Articles: 3 Completed, 2 In-progress; Conference presentations: 3

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I am pursing my Ph.D. in Health Policy at UMBC. I was introduced to Dr. Tull before the entrance to my program at a Promise event for new students. The Summer Success Program follwed closely after and I had opportunity to be exposed to her expansive network and resources.
    I am working on my dissertation and Dr. Tull’s programs on UMBC’s and College Park campuses are still a great support while I am working full-time. These programs allow me to feel connected to the school (s ), survive socially, and prepare for the next steps after my academic career even though I’m entrenched in the present trying to balance home/work/school/life.
    Academia and religion rarely mix….but I thank God for her. Thank you for all that you do Dr. Tull.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Renetta, it´s always such a pleasure to hear from you.
    As for the request: I met Dr. Tull at UMBC, while I was an international student pursuing my PhD in Language, Literacy and Culture. I met Renetta in one of the Promise events. She wanted to learn Spanish and I invited her to sit in my class. After that, she gave me the opportunity to run a workshop for incoming TAs on how to teach using multimedia in the classroom and I became a PROMISE mentor. Later, as a GA, I had the chance to work with her in the Student Development Unit at UMBC Graduate School Department. This position meant a lot to me since it allowed me to finish my graduate studies. I learned so much from Renetta not only in the professional and academic realm, but about life in general. Therefore, I do not think it is excessive to affirm that she crosses the Ts on the word tutor and brings it to life.
    Right now I am back in my home country, Argentina, and I hold a postdoctoral fellowship for the National Council of Technical and Scientific Research. I also teach at two Teacher Training Institutes and at different universities at the graduate level. I am hoping to get a position as an Assistant Researcher in the National Council of Technical and Scientific Research. My research and teaching activities are related to academic writing and all the experience I gained working with Renetta constitutes an asset in my life.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. My name is Sylvester Mosley and I graduated from UMBC during the Fall of 2006 with a PhD in Organic Chemistry. I currently work at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It is while at UMBC, my path crossed with that of Dr. Tull. I served as a peer mentor in the Promise program (I was a UMBC peer mentor), where Dr. Tull was the Director of the tri-campus initiative (UMBC-UMB-UMCP). Working with Dr. Tull as a part of the Promise program was a one of greatest opportunities that I could have been afforded. Not only did it equip me with many great professional tools that I use today in my profession within the government, but it also gave me the opportunity to learn by being mentored by one of the most gifted, not to mention, passionate people working with graduate students. I thank her for her skillful leadership in setting agendas that will be impactful for students’ future successes. I thank her for her navigational skills to steer students through the ups and downs that come with graduate school. I thank her for her words of encouragement both while I was a student and afterwards, when darkness arose. Dr. Tull, you are deserving of several mentoring awards, because you are that awesome.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Dear Renetta:

    I am delighted to write a note of support of your nomination for a (well-deserved!) mentor award. We first met when I was a doctoral student in the LLC program in 2006. At the time, I was working as a classroom teacher (teaching 15 preps a week), helping to co-parent two toddlers, working as a RA (10 hours a week), and attending school full-time. You were so kind to me and provided me with multiple opportunities to meet other doctoral students and to receive support.From the weekend gatherings to the dissertation writing house to the times that I spent crying in your office –you were always a safe place that I could turn to in the midst of all of my academic storms. When I was in school, I often saw myself as a sailor in a small boat making my way on a very large ocean – you and everyone you placed in my path were like lighthouses helping to guide me along the way. I really did not understand until I met you how important it was to have a mentor, to have a supportive academic environment, and to have people who pushed and prodded you along the path to get you to the Ph.D. finish line You are the standard that I use when I mentor my students (I often ask myself in those very trying moments – “Am I doing a Renetta Tull worthy job?”). I can not thank you enough for believing in me, for pushing me, and for supporting both me and my family for the past seven years. You are a blessing!

    Kaye Whitehead, Ph.D.
    Assistant Professor, Loyola University Maryland

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Jason Minnis
    Master of Science, Information Systems
    Application Architect / IT Project Manager for the Brooklyn Academy of Music

    My name is Jason and I graduated with a M.S. in Information Systems from UMBC in 2005. I met Dr. Tull at a PROMISE retreat 2002 while I was still an undergrad and Florida State University. I can’t begin to tell you the impact that she has had on my life. If it wasn’t for her I wouldn’t have considered attending graduate school a viable option . Through her I had the support network i needed to graduate for UMBC. My first year of graduate school was rough, I was in a new region surrounded by new people with a very intense workload. Since I came to UMBC directly from undergraduate school i was still “wet behind the ears” . Through Promise Dr. Tull helped me make the transition from undergraduate student to IT professional. She also instilled the will to mentor which I carry on to this day. Frankly, you are awesome Dr. Tull. I don’t think a blog post can really sum up what you have done for me

    My future plans are to continue in the non profit technology sector as well as continuing to mentor for Big brothers and Big Sisters NYC. I will also countiune to mentor and speak to kids about STEM at local Brooklyn high schools.

    Thanks for everything Dr Tull

    Jason Minnis
    IT Project Manager
    Information Technology Department
    BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music)

    Liked by 1 person

  15. My name is Nandadevi Cortes, and I have no words to express how grateful I have to have Dr. Tull as my mentor. I started attending PROMISE events since I started my PhD in Biological Sciences here at UMBC in 2008. Later on, I started working with Dr. Tull as a graduate assistant, helping with the coordination of the seminars, speakers etc. I can only say that the experience helped me discover skills I did not know I had and all thanks to Dr. Tull. I am still working with her but now as the Program Coordinator for PROMISE, Graduate Student development and Postdoctoral Affairs. We meet regularly to discuss my career plans and we have written several papers and grants that focus not only on student development, but also on the importance of family involvement with graduate students and international collaborations. We have attended seminars in the states and abroad where we have included graduate students from minorities, and the experiences have been very fulfilling.

    I cannot express in words my appreciation and how grateful I am to have Dr. Tull in my life. She is not only a great leader but also a great person and colleague who is always working hard to get the most of her time to help students (graduate and also undergraduates). I have to say I have learned a lot from her and is someone that I look up to and admire for her energy and for always showing an interest in the students and coworkers.

    Thank you for all!!
    Nandadevi Cortes, PhD in Biological Sciences
    Program Coordinator, PROMISE, Graduate Student Development and Postdoctoral Affairs.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Hi Dr. Tull!

    I’m sorry that I missed your virtual get-together. I would have loved to have been a part. To start, here’s my info: Susan Mitchell, PhD, graduated from UMBC, Information Systems Department, in May 2012. I came to *eight* Dissertation Houses from 2009 through 2012. The sessions were absolutely integral to finishing my dissertation. Thank you, thank you, thank you (and to Dr. Carter-Veale, also)!

    After graduating, I spent one more year as a Lecturer in UMBC’s Computer Science and Electrical Engineering Department. Then, after 24 years of teaching, I just burnt out. I still love to teach, but I just couldn’t take everything else that came with it anymore. But never fear! Since that time, I’ve been a mentor for River Hill High School’s (Clarksville, MD) FIRST Robotics Team and Technovation Challenge. The Technovation Challenge was my passion. It is a global challenge for teams of girls *only* to prototype and market a mobile software application. The app for this year had to be of benefit to the girls’ immediate community. I mentored two teams of five girls each. They did great — they came in first and second in the first Maryland Technovation Showcase sponsored by MOST, the Maryland Out of School Time Network. I’m going to mentor again this year. So, I’ve caught your mentoring bug!

    I’ve also done some professional training in software engineering for the UMBC Training Centers and been asked to guest lecture at UMBC in my old department. And I’m completing an article, along with my former advisor (Dr. Carolyn Seaman), for submission to the Information and Software Technology Journal. Last, I’m considering pursuing an almost-full-time job in the computer industry. For now, I call myself an Independent Software Engineering Consultant and Trainer. I don’t currently have a web site, but you can find me on Facebook.

    It looks like you’re still going strong with mentoring (thank goodness!). I wish you the best, and one more time, THANK YOU!

    Susan Mitchell

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Hi there, This is great! I will be brief, but I completely believe in the mentoring experience, and I feel that the way we can show the deepest gratitude is to mentor forward. I hope to continue to find ways to show my gratitude for mentors like Dr. Tull through working with students.

    My name is Amy Pucino, and I just graduated with a PhD (thanks for your help, Dr. Tull!!) from the Language, Literacy and Culture Program. The mentorship began through the Promise/Prof-It program.

    Because of the exposure to the community college setting that Prof-It allowed, I was inspired to seek employment at CCBC. Now, I am an assistant sociology professor there, and I love it. Certainly found my niche.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I forgot to mention that thanks to you I established a contact at SSI right after graduating with Dr. Ivan Esparragoza of Penn State University which enabled me to organize and create the first Symposium of Health Informatics in Latin American and the Caribbean by holding it in conjunction with the Latin American and Caribbean Consortium of Engineering Institution’s annual conference. I wanted to mention that because I wanted to show how wherever you go, you create connections then you bring them to SSI and magic happens. I remember the first year I attended you brought Calvin Mackie. I had never seen someone give so much of himself in a speech other than Martin Luther King, Jr in his “I have a dream speech.” Watching Dr. Mackey come off stage and be exhausted took me to a higher standard of excellence in my endeavors. A then you brought Randall Pinkett right after he had won The Apprentice. By bringing us the best, you made us believe we were the best and that planted seeds in us that are still growing.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Hi all mentees of Dr. Tull,

    I am Patti Ordóñez. I am an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at the University of Puerto Rio Piedras and yes, Dr. Tull, you have played an enormous role in that. I went from a graduate student who returned to school after 15 years to a get a degree in CS to being a professor in CS. I originally applied to the PhD program because I knew I needed funding. I had no idea of what Academia entailed and PROMISE taught me all the things I was not learning about the culture of Academia in the classroom. You provided the soft skills that department doesn’t emphasize plus the much needed encouragement to succeed. I can’t thank you enough. For those of you who are just getting to know Renetta. Watch out because if you tell her you want to achieve something, she is going to help you achieve it… whether you are ready for it or not. She is my role model for mentoring and collaborating.

    Thank you, Dr. Tull!

    Patti Ordóñez

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Hello All,

    My name is Sophoria Westmoreland and I am a PROUD mentee of Dr. Renetta Tull. She was so monumentally instrumental in the completion of my PhD program at the University of Maryland in 2012 and continues to think of me and share job posts with me. As she, in only the way she can, encouraged participation in a number of professional development programs and mentoring programs I quickly heeded ALL her advice and found myself with the most rewarding and enriching graduate school experience possible. This also allowed me to connect, through Dr. Tull’s connections, with scholars from around the world who had either travelled the graduate student path or were traveling with me. Being in graduate school doesn’t mean you know what your future is going to be like, but walking with and learning from Dr. Tull gave me insight and knowledge about the possibilities of a career in academia. I recently traveled the academic route for two years as a Assistant Research Professor at the United States Naval Academy and every step of the way I was more than prepared because of the teachings of Dr. Tull and her various support programs.

    Praise God for Dr. Tull!

    She was my coaching angel.

    Sophoria Westmoreland

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Hello All,

    My name is Hervens Jeannis. I’m currently pursuing PhD in Rehabilitation Science concentrating in Rehabilitation Engineering. My mentoring relationship started with Dr. Tull, while I was BD Fellow (2009-2011). I’m currently working on proposing and look forward to finishing up the dissertation.
    Thank you Dr. Tull for all efforts made during my stay at UMBC and transition to University of Pittsburgh. Moreover, thank you checking in during your visits to Pittsburgh!

    Let’s get this well deserved award!

    Congratulations in advance!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. My name is Cristina Pomales and I am currently Associate Professor of Industrial Engineering at the University of Purto Rico-Mayagüez. I was blessed with meeting Dr. Renetta Tull at an AGEP conference when I was a graduate student in 2004 and at that point the mentorship relationship started. As a young professor, Dr. Tull asked me to participate in her PROMISE event as an invited speaker to share my story. We have stayed in contact throughout the years as she always keeps in touch with me when she visits Puerto Rico. Recently we have started collaborating on the ADVANCE Grant activities, first as an attendee, then as a presenter and now as collaborator. Dr. Tull is an exceptional mentor, leader and role model for women in science and engineering and I am proud of her support and guidance as a mentor for 10 years. Thank you Dr. Tull.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Hi Dr. Tull.

    I started my journey in the Ph.D. program for Chemistry the same year you came to UMBC. I can say without a doubt that I was very fortunate to be there from day 1. As a Meyerhoff Fellow I had mentor for my specialty, but it was my interaction with you and Promise that got me through.

    I completed my Ph.D. in Synthetic Organic Chemistry in Dec 2009. I’m currently an assistant professor in the Chemistry Department at Stevenson University, where I am also the course coordinator for Organic Chemistry. My research is on synthesizing potential inhibitors of Hepatitis C Virus. Stevenson University is primarily an undergraduate institution and I’ve had undergraduates working on the research for the past 4 years.

    I have managed to secure two internal grants from my institution to complete my research, a competitive travel grant to attend an American Chemical Society (ACS) meeting and accepted to a competitive leadership workshop, PKAL organized by Association of American Colleges and Universities(AAC&U). Most recently I was honored to receive an award as Distinguished IMSD Alumni.

    My future plans included submitting an external grant and furthering my research.

    I am truly grateful to you and the Promise program for giving me guidance. Please check the acknowledgement in my dissertation .

    Thank you and best wishes,

    Dawn N. Ward, Ph.D.
    Assistant Professor of Chemistry
    Stevenson University
    1525 Greenspring Valley Rd
    Stevenson, MD 21153
    (443) 334-2281

    Liked by 1 person

  23. My name is LaTese Briggs and I met Dr. Tull during the very first year of my tenure pursuing my PHD in biochemistry. I was new to UMBC as was she; however, she was a magnificent resource from day one. A full account of all that Dr. Tull has helped me achieve would require me to write a novel, so I will stick to the highlights. Within her first year she successfully built a community across campuses and taught me and numerous others how to grow and sustain this community that she planted. She taught us how to use each other for support in every sense of the word, while essentially setting the example on how to do this by supporting each and everyone of us in our professional development, graduate classes and responsibilities, and our personal lives. Dr. Tull convinced me to stay in graduate school, when I was dead set on leaving to pursue what I thought would be more “impactful” work in the peace corps. Dr. Tull and the programs that she put in place on campus such as dissertation house helped me write my dissertation quickly, seamless, and complete it 1.5 weeks ahead of my defense! Dr. Tull encouraged me to complete a post doc when I wasn’t sure, and she created an opportunity for me interact as an ambassador with a recruiter from a high-profile institution (The Broad Institute of Harvard & MIT), which ultimately led to me being sought by that institution and offered a unique and high-profile post doc. Dr. Tull has always seen the excellence in me and she is a master at not only extracting that excellence but also showcasing it to others without you even knowing it. My post doc experience is an example of Dr. Tull gracefully pushing students towards opportunities that wouldn’t necessarily have the initial confidence to pursue on their own. As a result she helped me build my confidence so that now, I have no problem setting my dreams in the sky and working to build the foundation to get there. Because of her and this wonderful life lesson, a mere 4 years after receiving my PhD I have my dream job. I have the privilege to work with an “Action Tank” that is focused on solving the problems of the medical research ecosystem to decrease the time it takes to bring medicines to market and increase the number of lives that are saved from debilitating diseases. I specifically work with philanthropists and patients to strategically direct philanthropic investments to medical researchers that are constrained by the current funding environment and struggling to keep the doors to their labs open, while simultaneously bringing together key experts to identify innovative near-term innovative clinical options for patients that are running out of time. There are multiple examples similar to my post doc example where Dr. Tull has mentored me both actively and passively, as well as countless others. I can’t stress enough how important this woman is to so many students-past, present, and future. She has not only impacted and built a bond with countless students throughout the University of Maryland schools system, Puerto Rico, NSBE, etc. but she has also facilitated the formation of deep bonds among these students. This woman has sincerely built a family among us, and taught us how we should continue to help and mentor one another and the generation behind us. There is no one in this world quite like Dr. Tull. If there were a Nobel peace prize category for mentoring she would undoubtedly win. Congratulations for the nomination Dr. Tull and I am sure additional congratulations will be in order soon!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Count me in the family!!!

    Your name: Quincy Brown
    Academic discipline: Computer Science
    Where our mentoring relationship began: Indirectly through Bridget to the Doctorate, Philadelphia AMP
    Your school: Drexel University
    What you are doing now: AAAS S&T Policy Fellow in the CISE Directorate at NSF
    Your current website:

    My future & Renetta’s impact (aka “The Good Stuff”)

    I initally met Dr. Tull via a phone call that she made to me when I started my postdoc at UMDCP in 2009. She had heard through the Philadelphia AMP BTD folks that I was in Maryland. Actually, I am not 100% sure that’s how she found me but she did find me. I recall having a brief conversation with her and not thinking much of it. We connected via Facebook and primarily kept in touch through “likes” of FB posts. I attended Robin Brewer’s MS graduation (Dec 2012?) ceremony and was surprised when she greeted me by name. We hadn’t met in person before then so I was impress that she knew who I was. Her warm welcome really stuck with me.
    In summer 2013 I began to seriously think about my career development and goals. I am an extreme introvert who rarely reaches out to people but something prompted me to contact Renetta via fb and ask to meet with her for lunch. We had a GREAT conversation and I learned a tremendous amount from that one meeting. That lunch started a chain of events that led me to applying for and receiving the AAAS S&T Policy fellowship.

    I’ve been a fellow for 2 weeks (literally) and am not sure what my future holds. However I am 100% confident that Renetta will be a part of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. I met Dr. Tull during my first year as a graduate student in Speech Language Pathology at Northwestern University. It is important to note that at the time Dr. Tull was pursuing her PhD in speech and hearing science at Northwestern University. As a first year student I was quite excited and nervous in entering this prestigious program. I was immediately put at ease when I met Dr. Tull. Let me say that before I knew of her academic accomplishments, her research in technlogy-engineering and speech science, I was in awe of her level of joy and enthusiasm for life. It was and still is quite contagious. As a first year graduate student and hearing about the rigors of academic life, I found it refreshing and calming to meet someone with such authentic enthusiasm. As a mentee not being able to then articulate that experience, my heart knew that it wanted to be academically challenged and maintain joy. Dr. Tull embraced this first year student and allowed private conversations, even inviting a few of us to her home to connect as graduate students in speech language pathology. I have since graduated and Dr. Tull continues to achieve great heights in the academia. Yet, she has still been an email away. I remember a time in meeting with her at the ASHA conference in Washington DC and discussing my brief participation in a PhD program and its challenges. Dr. Tull took the time immediately to listen. And in that moment, she spoke to me about strategy and my ultimate goals.

    Dr. Tull has set the bar high, I think in professional achievement and the ability to smile and emit joy even in the midst of life’s ups and downs. When you meet her, you know you have met someone special. Dr. Tull provides honesty, guidance, challenge, and love for who you are now and who you shall become. I have been privileged to extend to mentees that which Dr. Tull provided to me: time, a listening ear, the ability to challenge students, to provide my authentic self at all times, and the ability to aim in the midst of life’s challenges and triumphs. I feel indeed privileged to have met her and glad that I continued in contact and in relationship. Dr. Tull is a special woman and all who have had the opportunity to meet her will agree.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Dr. Tull encouraged me and supported me while aiming me toward leadership while I was in Grad School and part of the early years of PROMISE. All these years later, she still encourages me and has supported me as I successfully went up for tenure and have continued my career. She is a true ray of light in my world and the world of many academicians of color who need support and someone to believe in their dreams.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Hello everyone,

    I’m Shahza Somerville. I graduated in 2007 from UMBC with a Ph.D. in Neuroscience. I am currently a Clinical Research Specialist at Technical Resources International.

    I met Dr. Tull when I became a peer mentor for the Maryland’s Promise AGEP program (Promise) at UMBC. I was in the first cohort of mentors at UMBC and had the unique opportunity to see the before and after effects and watch the program greatly evolve as a result of Dr. Tull’s hard work and dedication.

    Promise became like a family, it provided a great network and gave graduate students, much needed support and opportunities to form life-long, meaningful relationships with peers who truly could identify with the experience of being an underrepresented minority seeking higher education. It truly was magical in the first years because we were all so hungry for a network of people who truly understood the difficult path which we sometimes walked; the long nights studying or working, the occasional self-doubt, the financial stress and tough obstacles that had to be overcome. Dr. Tull ensured that we were able to commune for not only professional development but personal growth and the opportunity to connect with graduate students at UM College Park, and UMB was invaluable and very much appreciated. Graduate school fed the mind and programs like Promise feed the soul. I am very thankful for all of Dr. Tull’s continued efforts and sacrifices and congratulate her for all well deserved accolades received.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. UMBC – Clinical Psychology PhD
    Currently working as a psychologist at Elizabethtown College Counseling Services

    Dr. Tull is an inspiration! Such a great influence at UMBC for myself and other classmates. I took part in Prof-It and had a great experience with the collaboration between UMBC and CCBC. I learned so much that couldn’t be gained from a traditional classroom setting. Dissertation House is another exceptional program. The list goes on and on. Wishing you all the best!

    Liked by 1 person

  29. It is very easy for me to begin this note with one sentence…I would not be who I am today had I not taken Introduction to Phonetics with Dr. Renetta Tull. My name is Erin Reichert and I met Dr. Tull at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. At that point in my academic career, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do…the million dollar question “What do I want to be when I grow up?” Dr. Tull’s teaching style was unlike anything I had experienced and I knew that I was in the right place, from her first lecture. I knew that I had found a home that made sense to me. Dr. Tull became my mentor and I had the pleasure of working in her UW-Madison Speech Technology Lab.

    Technology was booming. Speech recognition programs were on the cusp of exploding into the general public. Had the tech field considered vocal pathologies? What happens when the speaker is hard of hearing and deaf speech is the result? Can the systems keep up? Instantly my eyes opened into an entire field of technology that I hadn’t considered. I remember asking Dr. Tull to write a letter of recommendation for my application to graduate school. She obliged and I received the sealed letter to include with my application. I was accepted into graduate school and Dr. Tull presented me with the letter of recommendation at my graduation party. I opened the letter, read it, and was certain SHE was the reason I was accepted in the program. She saw things in me I hadn’t been aware of. I knew what I wanted to do and now I had the chance to do it.

    Dr. Tull taught me how to think – how to question – how to deal with rejection – how to think outside the box. The skills she impressed on me I use every day in my career. Every. Single. Day.

    I currently work at Sonic Innovations, Inc. where I am the Manager of Audiology Services. In a nutshell, I manage the Audiology & Technical Support and Regional Training teams. It is also my responsibility to craft all training materials that are used globally for Sonic. I function as the PM for the US getting products into our market. I GET to work with all the teams that make products come to life. I GET to make a difference each and every day to fulfill our mission: To improve lives through enhanced hearing.

    My future? Excellent question. Right now my hands are plenty full with Sonic. In my opinion, I have the best team in the industry working with me. Not for me, with me. Dr. Tull taught me that you are only as strong as your weakest link – back from our Noam Chomsky project in Phonetics. I impart this to my group in every project we tackle. We have better synergy than we’ve ever had because of what I learned from my mentor, Dr. Renetta Tull.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Dr. Renetta Tull is such an amazing person, and she wonderful at mentoring! Dr. Tull often mentored me through graduate school on how to manage my research advisor, with whom I had a very difficult relationship. She taught me a lot about staying focus on my objective and how to not get caught up in the day to day “drama”. She was there when I finished writing my thesis and she and I have had several conversations that have helped me get through difficult professional and personal situations. I say again, she is an awesome person and I have been so fortunate to have her in my life and my corner!

    Liked by 1 person

  31. My name is Akil Tarik Word-Daniels, a PhD student in electrical engineering at Princeton University working with long wavelength quantum cascade lasers and plasmonic waveguides.

    I first met you (Dr. Renetta Tull) at the Horizons program when I was considering coming to UMBC for graduate school. I chose the UMBC master’s program because along with aligning research ambitions at the time, you made it very clear that UMBC’s Graduate school has one of the most dynamic mentoring teams I would ever experience at an institution. During my visit, it was clear that you did not just want me to come to UMBC but to succeed in my overall ambitions. At UMBC, the mentor experience does not just end at the professor-student relationship level, but extends well in to the administration of the graduate school. At the center of this mentor experience is you, Dr. Tull.

    You exhibit a visceral drive to help student succeed in their goals. This is shown not only through programs such as PROMISE, but also through dedicated personal meetings amidst your busy schedule. On top of that, your preeminent optimism towards all students sets you apart from other mentors. You never give up on us and remain active in our lives even after UMBC. Your personality, work ethic and dedication is more than enough to make you a top mentor, but you still always go that extra step to help students refine their skills and mentalities to reach the next level so we can make positive impacts far-reaching across the globe.

    Dr. Tull, even now, when I ask, you always find time to discuss issues that I may have, help me see the real picture and search for the best options. You never doubt my abilities, you never sugar coat situations, and you help guide me with unwavering, unbiased support to this day.

    In the future, I dream of returning to the Deep South to combat poverty and hatred that plagues that region using science and mentorship. You have significantly helped to mold the way I lead, mentor, and achieve what I consider success when working with students and teaching programs. We are family and you are definitely the mother of this family, passing your mentoring genes on for generations to come. Thank you Dr. Tull for who you are and all that you have done and do!

    Sincere Regards,


    Liked by 2 people

  32. Dr. Renetta Tull gives passionately to her students and colleagues alike. I was fortunate to have our professional paths cross over 6 years ago. Since that time, Dr. Tull has served as a sounding board through which I can run ideas, seek encouragement and plan my next professional steps. Perhaps even more amazingly, there isn’t a single student that Dr. Tull does not consider hers. She generously gives her time to students across the nation and beyond. When I ran the MIT Summer Research Program (MSRP), we would bring Dr. Tull every year to kick off our summer. Without fail, our students were motivated and inspired by her words. She ends all her presentations with her contact information and students are always hesitant to reach out. “Does she really mean we can contact her?” they ask. Yes! She always really does.

    Dr. Tull has helped countless students think about their trajectories and found opportunities for them to succeed. She is fearless when it comes to connecting people. Her network is intricate and she generously introduces people and checks in with them to make sure they followed up on the introduction. Dr. Tull won’t just give you a name. She will give you a name and then ask if you have reached out to that person. Similarly, she leverages her network to make sure a student in need receives the information and support from his/her Institution. I truly believe that underrepresented students in STEM, throughout the globe, are infinitely more connected to one another through Dr. Tull!

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Dr. Tull,

    I had the pleasure of meeting you when you first came to UMBC. As a first year graduate student in the math department, I was struggling with the adjustment to graduate schools and was not happy! Your PATIENTLY worked with me to help me identify my passions which ultimately led me to transfer to the education department and complete a Masters of Arts in teaching. Though several years later, I’m back in a doctoral program continuing to “hone my craft” as you taught me!

    I have no doubt that God sent you to UMBC to help me! I would not have made it through my various seasons there without you. As if that is not enough, I can still call, email or text today when I’m trying to figure things out. I also have to give a special shout out to your husband, Dr. Tull for supporting and encouraging us as well!

    You have created and continue to create a rich legacy! May God continue to bless and keep you and may everyone of your dreams manifest before your very eyes!

    Alisha Sparks

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Hello Dr. Renetta Tull,
    Congratulations on your mentor-ship application! It is well-deserved! Dr. Renetta Tull has been an amazing mentor to me for the last 10 years and having her support made my transition in graduate school at UMBC very pleasant.

    I, Geriel Ettienne-Modeste meet Dr. Renetta Tull, during my first semester of my PhD program in Mechanical Engineering at UMBC. I remember prior to meeting Dr. Tull that I felt very alone in graduate school. I became involved with the Maryland’s Promise AGEP PROGRAM (PROMISE) and this made me feel more comfortable about being a graduate student at UMBC. As a mentee during the first cohort of the PROMISE program, I had the unique opportunity to watch the program evolve as a result of Dr. Renetta Tull’s hard work and dedication.
    Dr. Renetta Tull is very enthusiastic about serving students and I had the pleasure of meeting with her regularly to discuss my career goals throughout my graduate career and beyond. I admire, Dr. Renetta Tull’s generosity and knowledge for assisting myself and other students/young professionals to meet their full potential. Words cannot explain how grateful and fortunate I was to have a mentor like Dr. Renetta Tull assist me in identifying my passions and living my dream while achieving my career goals of doing research and working as a faculty member. The mentor-ship a student receives from Dr. Renetta Tull is invaluable and I sincerely nominate Dr. Renetta Tull for this mentor-ship award, since there is no other mentor that deserves this award more than Dr. Renetta Tull. I credit Dr. Renetta Tull as my life-long mentor and I am so grateful to receive her continued support.

    I always asked myself how someone has enough time to run such a tremendous program as PROMISE and mentor so many students. The answer to me is passion, dedication and care, all of these attitudes represents Dr. Tull. I realize that having a mentor as committed and driven as Dr. Renetta Tull is invaluable and has meant so much to me and my fellow colleagues of the Maryland’s Promise AGEP Program (PROMISE).

    Best regards,
    Geriel Ettienne-Modeste, Ph.D.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. I had the great pleasure of meeting Dr. Tull through my sister Geriel when I was thinking of advancing my academic career. My sister introduced me to Dr. Tull and she reviewed my graduate application. At that time I was interested in pursing Business Management but felt there was a different direction I wanted to take but didn’t know how. Though I was not a student at UM, she was very accommodating and supportive of helping me realize my dreams and help me with pursing my degree and what was important to me. Dr. Tull is a great mentor she is awesome at what she does and takes time to help out others. I thank Dr. Tull for her patience, advice, and encouragement in helping me realize what I really want to do. Thank you for helping me understand my true talents and passions. You have embraced us with open arms and help myself and many others realize there strengths. Thank you for inspiring me and others.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Dr. Tull is a holistic type of mentor who is concerned with a student’s professional development, mental wellness, family dynamics, as well as carving out time to connect with people or explore hobbies that provide balance to the grueling years of graduate school. I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Tull during my second year of graduate school at UMBC and she as truly a lifeline that helped make graduate school bearable when loneliness and self-doubt would start to set in. Dr. Tull kept an open office policy to chat and share her journey to the academy. It was obvious from the broad range of programming developed for graduate students that she took a great deal of time, research, and personal care to help ensure the success of students at UMBC, UMB, UMCP, and any student that participated in programs hosted by PROMISE, Maryland’s AGEP. She is a phenomenal woman in her own right with accolades and awards from her graduate and professorate research, while also becoming nationally recognized as an influential leader in bridging students of color from graduate school to academia and beyond. She genuinely cares about the well-being and success of every student that she encounters.
    Dr. Tull is indeed an amazing mentor and I pray that any organization seeking to identify mentors that have shaped the lives of countless students would consider her at the top if their list. I support any nomination for life’s work as a mentor with no reservations.


    Dr. Adrienne Starks

    UMBC- PhD Graduate in Biological Sciences
    Postdoctoral Fellow, NIH, NCI
    Currently developing a STEM education non-profit

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Katisha D. Smith, Ph.D.
    Mechanical Engineering
    Senior Aerospace Engineer, Vencore Services and Solutions, Inc.

    Congratulations Dr. Tull! It is so exciting to hear you have been nominated for a mentoring award! No one is more deserving of such an honor than you. I would not be where I am today without your guidance and encouragement. I first met Dr. Tull during a visit to the mechanical engineering graduate program at UMBC as an undergraduate student. I knew UMBC was the right place for me because of the focus on good mentoring relationships, especially through the PROMISE peer mentor program.

    My Ph.D. journey was bumpy, and many times I felt uncertain of my ability to finish, but your presence helped me continue toward my goals. Every time I was at my lowest point, a PROMISE event or a check-in meeting with you would renew my spirits and keep me going a little longer. Thank you for selecting me as a BD Fellow! Thank you for creating the PROMISE program! Thank you for cheering me to the finish line! Thank you for believing in me even when I did not believe in myself! Thank you for continuing to help students pursue and complete their doctoral degrees! All mentors strive to provide the level of love and dedication you provide, but you are one of kind Dr. Tull. Thank you for all you have done and continue to do!

    Liked by 1 person

  38. Dr Renetta Tull is both an incredible professional and an incredible person! Her desire to mentor others and share her knowledge is evident by her day to day ventures with her peers and mentees and the glowing tributes already shared here. While we originally met when she was a TA in our department, I was fortunate enough to become her fellow doctoral candidate colleague and, more importantly, her friend. I am grateful for the wise advice and consul she provided during graduate school, often reminding me that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and that any goal can be achieved! The passion she has for her professional endeavors is laudable and worthy of praise and recognition. Congratulations, my friend, on this most deserved honor!

    Liked by 1 person

  39. My name is Angela McRae, and I am in the field of Educational Psychology. I met Dr. Tull through the PROMISE program back in 2005. She was then, and continues to be, an inspiration to me. Dr. Tull has always been very encouraging, and through her efforts, the PROMISE program has helped people like me to realize their dreams of successfully completing graduate school and obtaining an academic position. Despite several obstacles, I was able to come out of my doctorate program a wiser and more well-rounded person, with a position as a tenure track Assistant Professor. I credit Dr. Tull with providing the much needed support to persevere, and as a testament to her efforts, I have remained involved in PROMISE as a returning mentor. It is her example that encouraged me to give back to the students who are now making their way through graduate school, and I look to her as I plan my research which focuses on academic success for underrepresented students. Thank you, Dr. Tull!

    Liked by 2 people

  40. Jocelyn Reader, Ph.D.
    Human Genetics
    I am currently a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Maryland Greenebaum Cancer Center.
    I am hoping to transition to a research faculty position here and continue performing research on breast cancer metastasis as well as ovarian cancer.


  41. My name is Brittny Davis, and I am currently wrapping up my Ph.D. in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at UMBC. Dr. Tull has been one of the most influential people in my success as a graduate student. Between Bridge to the Doctorate and PROMISE, Dr. Tull has created an awesome, nurturing, and encouraging environment for graduate students. I never doubted whether I would finish my Ph.D. (and still don’t) because I knew I had Dr. Tull behind me. I am honored to have Dr. Tull as a mentor and elated that she is nominated for an award because of her awesome mentorship!!

    Liked by 2 people

  42. name: Nina
    academic discipline: Communication Sciences and Disorders
    began: Northwestern University
    current position: Associate Professor

    Renetta and I met when I was a graduate student at Northwestern University. I completed both my MA and PhD, as separate degrees, in the department of CSD. She was initially a teaching assistant for classes I was enrolled in, but as I grew into a doctoral student we had more of a professional friendship and many discussions ensued that were in- and out- of profession. What was most influential for my time at an institution like NWU, is how Renetta carried herself. Yes, Renetta is brilliant. You can’t be a dual-major, engineer-CSD at NWU and not be smart. There were a lot of smart people there. Renetta was (and I suspect continues to be) a leader and mentor by example. She has grace. Renetta conducts herself with ease, with thought, and without malice. Unlike many other scholars and scholarly people in high pressure institutions, Renetta never had to make others feel or look small, so that she could appear superior. Her work spoke for itself. She was ethical. She was smart. She was poised.

    Leading by example is some of the best mentoring one can do.

    Liked by 1 person

  43. Dr. Renetta Tull is an exceptional individual, and she is dedicated to students’ success! I have had the pleasure of working and presenting with her for nearly 10 years. She and I have evolved our presentations and reach to students. Dr. Tull has really helped The National GEM Consortium create a sound presentation of How to Apply to Graduate School as well as other presentations for current graduate students. She has a presentation where she discussed how one of her students went about getting a STRONG LETTER OF RECOMMENDATION (which is what we tell students to ask for when they talk with faculty members) from her. This story is so impactful for those who hear this process that the student went about getting this letter from Dr. Tull. Dr. Tull sends me email from students that reach out to her after the GRAD Lab event. It is amazing that she can respond to so many so efficiently. The GEM GRAD Lab that Dr. Tull participates in is tremendous when she is there because she add an additional element of Twitter and Facebook to further the reach to communicate with the students that attend or not. Her ability to weave her story from undergraduate to doctorate to now a Associate Vice Provost for Graduate Student Development & Postdoctoral Affairs & Director, PROMISE: Maryland’s Alliance for Graduate Education & the Professoriate (AGEP) is amazing. She has the heart for students and where they will land when they finish their education. Dr. Tull has even added to her repertoire the reach to Latino/a students. I remember when I became of aware of this when she spoke in fluent Spanish to the students while we were in Puerto Rico at the GEM GRAD Lab back in 2011. The students and the administrators gave her a thunderous applause. Now, Dr. Tull is frequently visiting Latin areas and become a leader in many Latino/a organizations. She also has been a great presenter for us at the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE). They are always looking for Dr. Tull and her input. I hope this brief snippet will give just a glimpse of how Dr. Tull has been involved in GEM and many other arenas. She is has been a tremendous colleague, mentor, and friend! I have no doubt that she will be continuing to impact students and peers lives for many years to come!

    Best Regards,

    Marcus A. Huggans, Ph.D.
    Senior Director, External Relations
    The National GEM Consortium

    Liked by 2 people

  44. I posted something like this on my Facebook wall recently: What makes a great mentor? On August 18, my friend Rephael texted me “Who or what brought out the best in you? Why?” He’s always asking the deepest questions. My answer to him was, “My mentor, Dr. Renetta Garrison Tull, who recently hired me. She gave me opportunities to demonstrate imperfect but valuable competencies which she then built up, really listened to my challenges and defeats, connected me with people who supported and taught me beyond what she could do, and thanked me for being who I am.”

    Who am I? I’m Alexis Y. Williams, Ph.D., adjunct professor in the Human Development and Quantitative Methodology department at the University of Maryland, College Park, and assistant director of the PROF-It (Professors-In-Training) Program for the University System of Maryland. Because of Dr. Tull, I am living out at least one of my dreams to provide meaningful professional development opportunities for graduate-level educators, which help them connect with their students and the content of their disciplines as they progress into successful careers in the professoriate.

    I met Dr. Tull through the PROMISE AGEP program, more than likely during one of the Summer Success Institutes or distance retreats. My first memory of interacting with her was when I approached her haltingly to ask whether I could sign up to participate in one of the Dissertation House groups. At the time, I had not advanced to candidacy, but I needed help with my proposal writing and had no idea what I was doing. She was kind and encouraging, and that was the first time of many that I left a conversation with Dr. Tull with good information, good resources (she let me participate in DH, which propelled my writing forward), and great hope for my progress. I say often that I would not have been able to finish my degree without Dr. Tull as one of my advocates and mentors. She is a person who seems to stay with you in the back of your mind, cheering you on, even after your degree is done, because she makes you think beyond your graduate work and beyond yourself, to how your life will become a legacy.

    Recently, during conversations I’ve had with educators from several types of institutions and through attending engagements with Dr. Tull, I am dreaming about financing partnerships among community colleges, which often serve students from underrepresented backgrounds, and nearby four-year institutions; I’d like to encourage collaborations among these institutions so that they can offer more of the quality courses that allow students to transfer seamlessly with less remediation. Particularly in STEM fields, I’d like to help community colleges offer courses that are taught by graduate students who receive training and faculty mentorship in the scholarship of teaching and learning. This will then engage even more undergraduate students, both from underrepresented backgrounds and overall, helping them to consider the applicability of their courses toward their future careers, preparing them for successful completion of their degrees, and perhaps encouraging them to also pursue advanced degrees in STEM fields.

    A final note about Dr. Tull’s mentorship:
    “..extremely talented people” – these are Dr. Tull’s words in her original post about the students, postdocs, faculty, staff, and really just about everyone she comes across. She can see that part of us that is the fodder for greatness and she won’t extinguish it. She won’t let us minimize it. She won’t let it die. Instead, she finds just about every resource possible to turn a spark of hope, knowledge, or skill into a flame and spread these into a wildfire that consumes our minds and makes us forget that we had doubts or fears. Instead, we remember our passions and our dreams and follow them, moment to moment. That is what makes a great mentor, and that is Renetta Tull.

    Liked by 1 person

  45. Congratulations on this well-deserved recognition! You are a phenomenal mentor to me and countless others.

    My name is Dr. Kelly M. Kitchens, and I earned my Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the University of Maryland, Baltimore. Currently, I am a Biopharmaceutics Reviewer in the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research of the Food and Drug Administration. Dr. Renetta Tull and I met through the PROMISE program, a program I wish I knew about earlier in my graduate career because PROMISE and Dr. Tull were so instrumental in helping me to complete my studies. Through PROMISE, I connected with many young professionals who could relate to the challenges of pursuing a professional degree, especially in the STEM fields. PROMISE also provided many programs that were useful for grad students to successfully complete their studies. I’ve maintained relationships with my PROMISE family, and under Dr. Tull’s mentorship, all the PROMISE peers that I met earned their degrees and have successful careers.

    Every time I see Dr. Tull she has the brightest smile! Her smile exudes her pleasant and caring spirit. She truly desires to see everyone succeed. I had many struggles and setbacks during my graduate studies, and I even considered quitting my program. Yet Dr. Tull was always very encouraging and provided sound advice to me at times I felt stuck or discouraged. She believed in my ability to succeed before I realized my own potential. Whenever I shared my research progress and achievements with her she was cheering with me, and in her own way would say “See, I knew things would work out for you!” Dr. Tull supported me throughout my graduate career: I was honored that she attended my dissertation defense and my graduation celebration. She was a great role model for me as I mentored a peer graduate student through the PROMISE program (who also earned her Ph.D. and is now working in her desired career). Even after completing my studies, Dr. Tull continues to support my professional endeavors, and she has asked me to share my grad school and post-grad school experiences with current students. I am honored that she thinks my story and experiences can be helpful for current students. Whenever I meet people who are involved in the University of Maryland school system in any capacity, I pass along Dr. Tull’s information and encourage them to get in contact with her. She is a wonderful person to know and have in your network/support team.

    I am very grateful to be one of Dr. Tull’s many mentees, and I thank her for her continued
    support! Anyone who is lucky enough to have Dr. Tull on their team would be truly enriched by her professionalism and vast experience.

    Liked by 1 person

  46. Paul M atthews
    Masters in Information Management
    2006 CLIS Researcher of The Year
    University of Maryland College Park

    Many years after this moment, when the numbers are tallied, when the change we wanted to see has unfolded before our very eyes, we will ask how we did it, we will look back, and we will find Dr. Renetta Garrison-Tull — rare individuals that are worthy of historical record!

    Through Dr Renetta Garrison-Tull’s leadership of Promise AGEP, she has encouraged and educated myself and countless others on the art of perseverance and navigating the academic world as a student, a candidate, and a tenure track professor.

    Masters when we thought a Bachelors was good enough and a PhD when we thought a Masters was good enough — her Promise AGEP programming is responsible for the rise in educated professionals across the country. The world has and will continue to benefit from her efforts to diversify thought!

    Liked by 2 people

  47. Juan Valdez-Lopez
    UMBC, PhD Program-Biological Sciences

    I met Dr. Tull the summer before I started the M.S. program in Applied Molecular Biology at UMBC in 2012. I had no clue what graduate school was all about, and I honestly felt pretty lost and confused. Dr. Tull approached me during a summer PROMISE event and offered me the BD fellowship. I was so surprised by how eager she was to offer me advice, guidance, and mentorship. She always pushes her students to excel academically and develop professionally as well. Dr. Tull is just the best, you sincerely feel like she’s invested in seeing you succeed and she helps you make steps toward completing your goals.

    I finished my M.S. program last year and I’m now starting my 2nd year in the PhD program. Interesting story, I actually wasn’t very sure what I was going to do after the M.S. program. Dr. Tull’s encouragement is actually a huge reason why I continued into the PhD program. I’m still in the early stages of my PhD journey, but because of what Dr. Tull has done and continues to do for me, I feel like I can pursue all my challenges with a lot more confidence and skill. I know still a rookie, but I hope my brief words about Dr. Tull will help others see how amazing she is.

    Thank you Dr. Tull, you’re one of the most important, wonderful, and uplifting people I’ve ever had the privilege to know! You’re the best!

    -Juan Valdez

    Liked by 1 person

  48. In the fall of 2003, I was just beginning my graduate work at the University of Maryland in Applied Mathematics when I met Dr. Tull and the program called PROMISE, which was created to help minority students through graduate school, particularly focusing on receiving Ph.D.s in STEM fields. This seemed perfect for me and initially I thought that the lectures would be helpful in getting acquainted with life as a graduate student.

    I can still remember some of the first talks I attended, which helped to shape my mindset of how to approach graduate school, some common traps that graduate students fall into, and the importance of asking questions – both to the professor and to my fellow students.

    This advice alone, though, only tells half the story – if that. Much of the advice I mentioned above is stated in the many books and web sites I read that spoke about adjusting to life as a graduate student. What these text based methods cannot do though is provide the encouraging environment that Dr. Tull and PROMISE did. In my early years of graduate school, there was a family atmosphere that was built around us all being in, and getting through graduate school.

    Part of that atmosphere was seeing – what I call distant relatives – the people who came in and told their stories about how they survived graduate school, some with stories very similar to ourselves. We would then talk with each other at these events, like brothers and sisters in the same program, or cousins in different programs, relate our problems to each other and to the speaker. Speak of how the speaker got through those problems, or just brainstorm on different methods of solving these problems. If this brainstorming didn’t work or if we wanted further advice, we would go and talk with some of the older PROMISE members, like aunts and uncles, about their experiences with similar situations or just to confirm that our approach was a feasible one.

    And through it all was Dr. Tull like a mother watching over us. Sometimes she would be the first person we (I) would go to with problems. Sometimes, I’d go to other family members first, and just go to her for confirmation. Sometimes, there would be a lapse in the time between our talks and she’d be sure to check in on me to make sure that I was still in the program, what problems I was having, and would offer advice on how to resolve those problems.

    I am greatly thankful for Dr. Tull and her assistance in receiving my Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics with a focus on Operations Research, which I did receive in 2010 and I definitely recommend her for this award.

    – Charles N. Glover, Ph.D.

    Liked by 2 people

  49. Kristin Noell
    University of Maryland Eastern Shore
    PhD in Toxicology

    I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Tull through the Summer Dissertation House this past August at The Hotel at Arundel Preserve. I am so glad that this opportunity was made available to my current institution, not only did it help me in organizing and preparing the framework of my research proposal, but it also re-motivated me to keep going. I am just starting my 3rd year of my doctoral program, and I was starting to feel burned out, however those few days help me feel rejuvenated and eager to get back in the lab, and “git er done”. Dr. Tull herself also gave me someone to look up to, not often do you see a woman of color with a background in STEM, she gave me someone I could identify with. I do not think I can express how much that weekend impacted my life, and how grateful I am for that experience. I look forward to attending more PROMISE/AGEP events in the future.

    Liked by 1 person

  50. Dear Renetta:

    You are so deserving of this mentoring award! You are such an asset to the graduate community at UMBC, UMB and UMCP. You work very hard at bringing professional development and networking opportunities to these schools. Your passion about graduate education and supporting students in their pursuit of the masters and doctoral degree is evident. It is both a pleasure and an honor to work with a person that ALWAYS displays enthusiasm in her work! When I’m meeting with students in the Meyerhoff Grad Program or otherwise, I ask them, “Do you know Dr. Tull” and the answer is almost always yes. If they do not know you, I am always surprised. Keep doing what you are doing for students…… it works!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  51. Dr. Tull is an ever-present figure for graduate students through the Promise fellowship that she leads. It is clear that she has a passionate connection to mentorship and service by how she positions herself to be reached by anyone who extends. This past year, I attended the SSI, an event sponsored by Promise. The quality of the programs held at this event is a display of the confidence she has in our capabilities as budding researchers, so long as the proper mentoring is there. SSI left an impression on me that I was capable of performing as a researcher to the limits of my aspirations, and I am thankful that she lead the constructing and implementation of SSI and the many other events that Promise conducts for the benefit of graduate students.

    Jerrell Scott

    Liked by 1 person

  52. Dr. Tull has been an incredible resource for connecting students and inspiring us to success at high levels. I attended SSI on several occasions and participated as a peer mentor with the PROMISE program. During times when I felt discouraged it was great to be able to to connect with other students struggling with similar issues. I can also say that the Dissertation House was ABSOLUTELY critical in helping me finish my dissertation- one of my proudest achievements. I remember the weekends spent with Carlos, Patti, Alexis, Margaret, and so many more. It was incredibly motivating to see people complete a task that seemed so large and daunting. Thank you, thank you, thank you for all that you do to support students in achieving our dreams.
    Shauna Pollard, Ph.D.

    Liked by 2 people

  53. I couldn’t be happier to sign along with the countless students who have grown and benefitted from Dr. Tull. I met Dr. Tull rather late in my graduate career(3rd year). I believe our first introduction was at a fall opening meeting. I introduced myself. She asked me questions about my interest and what I wanted out of my graduate career. Dr. Tull showed a vested interested in my success and my story. Graduate training and development isn’t just about getting the numbers for her institution. She truly cares about her students. This is evident in the daily personal interactions she has with students. From my first encounter with her she remembered my name and even personally sought me out when opportunities came across her desk. And it didn’t stop here . Dr. Tull was instrumental in my development as a leader. The promise Summer Success Institute which she plans for graduate students every year has been one of the highlights of my graduate career. She works hard to bring top researchers, educators, and business people to this event every year. I have gained mentors and made solid connections with potential employers. To me Dr. Tull is the epitome of a mentor and leader for graduate students.

    THANK YOU Dr. Tull and congratulations!

    Deborah Girma,
    Ph.D. Candidate, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

    Liked by 1 person

  54. Dr. Renetta Tull is a remarkable woman! She is innovative, forward thinking, always thinking of the big picture, and always creating new opportunities to advance your career and broaden your options. She also embodies the values that she has instilled in the Office of Graduate Student Development and Postdoctoral Affairs as well as the PROMISE program: community (the support from family and friends are during your PhD and your career are important), role modeling (inviting alumni and speakers to come back and be “mentors” and encouragers to current graduate students), pride in your accomplishments (introduce yourself as “Dr. XYZ”). She does not limit opportunities to just UMBC students or just underrepresented minorities. But she sees the richness of having a community of different universities and colleges in Maryland, alumni, professionals, spouses and families, all encouraging the next generation of leaders.
    My name is Dr. Judith Pollack; I earned my PhD in Chemical and Biochemical Engineering from the University of Maryland Baltimore County. I am currently the President/COO of MycoInnovation, a biotech startup at the bwtech@UMBC LifeSciences Incubator. I am also a Strategic Communication Business Builder at Stand Up and Speak Well. I met Renetta for the first time in 2004, after the death of one of the PROMISE Peer mentors, Jessica Soto Perez, who was a fellow graduate student in my department. I became acquainted with the PROMISE program and the other success seminars that Renetta’s office organizes. But more importantly, I began to get to know Renetta and admire her. I worked with her in various capacities: as the PROMISE Coordinator at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, as the Assistant Director for PROF-it (PROFessors-in-training), and also as a consultant with the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs. Even after I started my own company, I still learn a lot from her. She is always thinking ahead, and always concerned about personnel development, and has helped me think beyond the current box and create new opportunities.
    She always makes time for us in her busy schedule, and that’s why we love her so much. It’s been a pleasure and an honor to know her, and be part of her “family.” She deserves this mentoring award and more!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi everyone!

      Amanda Lo
      Biological Sciences, M.S.

      I just started my graduate assistantship for the PROMISE program on the Career-Life Balance Initiative last week. This is my first time working for a graduate assistantship and I wasn’t sure what to expect. At my first PROMISE staff meeting last week, I liked how Renetta was always thinking about the next step. She is a very approachable person. I also like her motivation and how she encourages everyone to put their best foot forward. There’s a lot of support. 🙂 The PROMISE team is very nice and I am glad to be part of the team.

      Before I started my graduate assistantship, I was attending the PROMISE events because I wanted to excel outside of the classroom. Because I had undergraduates who worked under me, I always wanted to improve my mentoring and teaching skills. I never wanted to have undergraduates who work under me, but have no guidance and mentorship. So, I attended a lot of PROF-IT seminars to become a better mentor and maybe if I possibly become a TA one day. Then, I felt that the ‘Statistics for Researchers’ sequel for the PROMISE program would be a great place to improve my skill in statistics. I also enjoyed being in Dr. Chris Rakes’ statistics and meta-analysis study group. I was moved by how he outreaches to others and was always willing to help. He never said ‘no’ to anything and was a great mentor. Then, I attended other PROMISE success seminars, such as to improve my public speaking. I always amazed when I saw people who were great public speakers. I think their speeches inspired me to want to be a great at public speaking in front of large crowds one day. 🙂

      Overall, even though I am at the beginning stage of working directly under Renetta, I feel that since she is the director of the PROMISE program, she and everyone that was part of the PROMISE staff were indirectly mentoring me because they helped to create the PROMISE events. By attending many of the PROMISE events, I learned a lot and appreciate everything that I have learned so far. Now, I am part of the team as well. I look forward to working with such a great team and am learning new things every day, which is great!

      Currently, I am in m 2nd year in graduate school and am working towards my M.S. degree in Biological Sciences. My project is focusing one the genetic effects of the immune system across age.

      My current LinkedIn website is

      My future steps? I would like to:
      – work on the Career-Life Balance Initiative
      – graduate with my Master’s degree and then continue on with a PhD degree
      – improve my public speaking skills in front of large crowds
      – improve my writing skills
      – conduct research after earning a PhD, hoping that one of my research projects will make a helpful contribution to the scientific field
      – learn how to become a good mentor/teacher
      – help people 🙂


      • Last Spring when I presented at the Graduate Research Conference at UMBC, now, my memory is a little rusted, but I think it was Renetta who talked to me before I started my poster presentation in front of the judges. I was really nervous and Renetta asked me to do a 1 – 2 min poster presentation in front of her to help me out. I did a brief presentation and felt less nervous when presenting in front of the judges! 🙂 I’m pretty sure it was Renetta who talked to me. So, yes, my mentoring also started at the research conference! Thank you for your help and in motivating others to put their best foot forward and try their best! 🙂


  55. Hello everyone!

    I am a Master’s student studying mechanical engineering at Purdue University and I truly wouldn’t be here if Dr. Tull and I didn’t cross paths at the 2012 NSBE National Convention in Pittsburgh, PA. Dr. Tull was presenting the steps required to develop a strong graduate application as a GEM Grad Lab. When I stepped into that lab, I was in my second to last year of my BSME at the University of Florida. I truly didn’t know anyone I could turn to for help with the graduate school application process, and I didn’t believe I could actually admitted to a good school. The entire scenario seemed like uncharted territory and I didn’t even know where to begin nor did I have the confidence to do so – though I certain that I wanted to be my next step in life. Dr. Tull’s presentation literally paved the way for me to begin taking my first steps. I should note that the information in that presentation I still haven’t heard anywhere else, and I feel like it was vital to my graduate school application success. This presentation and the corresponding blogs to help with this process empowered me to move forward steadfastly. After the session, I spoke with Dr. Tull thanking her for her presentation because I was lost. Then I expressed how afraid I was because I didn’t think I’d actually get into school anywhere and I literally started crying (which surprised me as much as it did her I’m sure). Her presentation was a blessing for me and an assurance that I was doing the right thing, however the concept of grad school seemed frightening/overwhelming. Wholeheartedly, Dr. Tull reminded me about having faith and our discuss was comforting and helped me to continue confidently. Because I didn’t have much research experience at the time, she advocated on my behalf for a research opportunity at Kansas State. At every graduate school I applied to, Dr. Tull helped to set me up with the right people for a positive application process. Over the past two years, we have remained in touch and she continues to be a great support system by encouraging me through the graduate school process and by being a phenomenal role model. Her contribution to my life has been inspirational and invaluable. It is rare for a person to be able to say that about a person they’ve only met once.

    Dr. Tull, congratulations on your nomination for this mentoring award. You truly deserve it!


  56. Congrats Dr. Tull!!! You are absolutely the most amazing mentor that I have had the pleasure of interacting with. Your ability to transcend differences is like watching a master magician at work doing what they love. God has blessed you with supernatural wisdom and you have blessed us by sharing that wisdom. Thank you for being so committed to working WITH us to realize the potential that God placed in us. You are amazing!!!


  57. My name is Gleneesha Williams and I received my Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Maryland, College Park. Dr. Tull became one of my mentors when I was a participant in PROMISE, Maryland’s Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate. Dr. Tull and the PROMISE program were instrumental to the completion of my doctorate degree. Dr. Tull has mentored me in many ways, including: personally reviewing my research and providing guidance on my dissertation, introducing me to senior researchers in my field, and informing me of numerous opportunities to attend relevant conferences and seminars. She is more than deserving of a mentoring award!


  58. a) Sossena Wood, PhD Candidate in Bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh. My mentoring relationship began @ QoLT @ CMU during one of the NSF visits in April of 2011. I was just shy of meeting Dr. Tull at NSBE’s National Convention in St. Louis during March 2011. I did not get to meet her at the GEM grad lab and I wanted to connect with her via email. I had been reading her web page the week of her visit at CMU. To my surprise she walked over and spoke to me about my project. I began by stating, “You may think this is odd but I was just looking up your CV on the internet. I saw that you were once the NSBE Region 2 Vice Chairperson just as I was.” Essentially our dialogue begun and I asked if Dr. Tull could informally mentor me. She has done just that in both informal and formal ways.

    b) I am currently in my 4th year of my doctoral program. I am working on defending my dissertation proposal this fall. I finished all of my coursework in April. I just recently received the NIH F31 fellowship to complete and fully sponsor my program. I am also the current National Chairperson of the National Society of Black Engineers serving as a two-term chairperson and the 7th female chairperson.

    c) My websites:


    Next Steps: My next steps are to successfully pass my dissertation proposal and spend the next two years completing my research to defend my dissertation. I have developed an interest to teach and I have taken courses to shed light on academia, teaching pedagogy, and conducting research. I hope to become a tenured faculty member and eventually move into administration within academia. I’d also like to develop a start-up out of my research. If for whatever reason that does not pan out as I desire I would like to do research and development in industry.

    Words about Dr. Tull:
    I got carried away with sharing how I met Dr. Tull in (a) but truly Dr. Tull is a blessing. She has been such a positive role model and support since I first met her in 2011. I felt like a stalker, but she embraced my interest and has helped coach me along the PhD learning path.

    Seriously, Dr. Tull is one of the few African American females that I have come across willing to mentor me through receiving my PhD and nurturing my interest to go into academia. I was thrilled when I met her at CMU because it’s rare that you see someone with similar passions as yourself and have the opportunity to have a positive interaction with them. Both Dr. Tull and I have a passion for education and outreach, one I’m sure that NSBE played a role in fostering. Similarly, we both pursued degrees in Electrical Engineering and are African American women…all of these similarities sparked my excitement. I read her resume and thought, I want to be just like her!

    Beyond 2011 I’ve kept in touch and I’ve had positive interactions with Dr. Tull. Dr. Tull was integral and working with myself and NSBE to plan a dissertation house for graduate students in the Pittsburgh area and attending the 2012 NSBE convention. Frequently we’ve connected at various GEM conferences. She has always been a cheerleader for me with a warm smile.

    When Dr. Tull recently traveled to Pittsburgh over the summer, she made a point to connect with myself and a few other graduate students that she had a relationship with from UMBC that attend UMBC for their undergraduate degree. Dr. Tull inspired us all to begin to simply write. She shared her success and best practice for writing. For a series of weeks, we were committed and write. Since that time we formed a groupme that holds accountability for graduate students in engineering or similar fields from diverse backgrounds to push through and get their doctoral degree.

    Dr. Tull’s conversation sparked a flame within us all and a vested community. During that day I shared with Dr. Tull that I was going through the NIH F31 review process and could use advice from anyone who’s had experience with the F31 or NIH grants in general. She connected me with Brittny, a doctoral candidate at UMBC, through one of her former students Hervens, who is now a doctoral student at Pitt in the Rehabilitation Science and Technology doctoral program. Brittny was a great help and gave great advice. I can say that this helped make a difference through the review process and allowed that I received the NIH F31 award.

    Dr. Tull deserves the mentoring award. Every adjective and description that your committee comes up with to develop the recipient of this award, you are unaware that you are writing about Dr. Tull. She is genuine and honestly cares about the next generation of academics in academia. I cherish the time that I do get to spend with her and I know that there are plenty of others who agree with my sentiments.


  59. I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Dr. Tull since 2004. I met her as a McNair Fellow where she aided us in presentation and public speaking skills. Since that moment, Dr. Tull served as a tremendous and prolific mentor and confidante. Throughout my undergraduate career she guided me on research presentation skills. As the years went by, I don’t think she knows the impact she had and continues to have on my personal life, academic and professional careers. Being a first generation college student and graduate, I cannot give enough thanks nor show the amount of gratitude that I have for Dr. Tull. While receiving my Masters and then going on to Law School, Dr. Tull has provided the support throughout the most difficult times during my life. On a personal note, going through graduate school, I became a single mom and went through hardships with my graduate program. I wanted to give up in more ways than one. However, Dr. Tull provided the advice, listening ear, and helped plan the next steps needed for me to push forward. She gave me honest advice and without it, I would not have been able to regain my confidence in myself and belief that I could get it done. Because of all that she does and her belief in me, I graduated from my Masters program, finished Law School, and am continuing onto a doctoral program.

    I do not know how to express my gratitude for all that she has done. Dr. Tull is a role model and blessing to many students who need it. I can say without her guidance, I would not have had that last needed push. She continues to serve as my mentor and role model providing her advice and wisdom at a moments notice. For this, she is deserving of all the blessings that come her way.

    Thank you, Dr. Tull for all that you have done and all that you represent for many generations of students.

    LieAnn T. Van-Tull, M.S., J.D.


  60. My name is Isaac Mativo, a Computer Science PhD student. My mentoring relationship with Dr. Tull began at UMBC, in a PROMISE event. Food was a factor, and since I like to eat I showed up early. When I left the event, my tummy was full. Much more importantly, I had met Dr. Tull. Very few times in my life have I met a person who has so influenced me that the trajectory of my life changes. Dr. Tull is such a person to me. A mentor of unquestionable integrity, Dr. Tull embodies the selfless passion of not just encouraging others to success, but walking the journey with them.

    As a non-traditional graduate student (married with kids), Dr. Tull has been present in person and through events she organizes to keep me focused and motivated. What amazes me the most about Dr. Tull is her strength. Even with all her commitments, she has time to email, blog, talk, etc., with the common thread of helping students. In my view, what she does is more that than a job description – it’s a passion! I am sincerely grateful to you Dr. Tull for all the help. I am blessed to know you.

    As I continue to navigate graduate school, I hope that soon I will graduate and play a part in helping others achieve their dreams. Right now, my main focus is to work hard and graduate. I believe Dr. Tull would not have it any other way!


  61. Huguens Jean, Ph.D.
    Electrical Engineering
    Senior Engineer, Captricity

    I owe a great debt of gratitude to Dr. Tull and Promise. Her commitment to higher education and her students has impacted my life in ways I cannot fully describe. I first met Dr. Tull after being accepted into the bridge to the doctorate (BD) fellowship program in 2005. Since then, she has served has my mentor and provided me with a constant source of guidance, encouragement and motivation. She continues to inspire me with her unequivocal sense of optimism and the fact that she expects the best from her students. Congratulations on a well deserved honor.


    Huguens Jean


  62. My name is Levon Esters and I’m an associate professor at Purdue University. I was introduced to Dr. Tull by a mutual colleague and what has resulted is her becoming a trusted member of my “mentoring team.” I’ve sought Dr. Tull’s advice on numerous occasions regarding my career progression, promotion & tenure and navigating the academic landscape. Most importantly however, Dr. Tull was the inaugural speaker at our first Mentoring@Purdue (M@P) Invited Lecture Series event in 2013. Dr. Tull’s did a phenomenal job and was instrumental in helping launch the M@P Program on an upward trajectory. I can’t put into words how instrumental Dr. Tull has been in helping me to become a more well-rounded professional. She is inspiring in so many ways and I am very grateful for her mentorship.


    Levon T. Esters, Ph.D.
    Director, Mentoring@Purdue Program


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