This past weekend, I had a delegation of approximately 25 graduate students and postdocs at the 2014 SREB Compact for Faculty Diversity/Institute for Teaching and Mentoring in Atlanta. I had a session on mentoring faculty who will in turn mentor students, with my colleague, Dr. Christine Grant. Sunday’s keynote speaker was UMBC’s President, Dr. Freeman Hrabowski. Dr. Hrabowski told the group of approximately 1200 of his own experiences in the 1960’s, and implored each person to be excellent as they plan contributions for the future. I am proud of our group of students from Maryland! They are brilliant, covering the spectrum of disciplines, from chemistry to human centered-computing, to social sciences. Mentoring requires sacrifice, and when you know that your work is not for you, you approach it with gusto. If it is possible to be both exhausted an energized, I am living in that space. I applaud my students. Read more about our trip to Atlanta here: http://promiseagep.wordpress.com/2014/11/03/good-morning-dr-_insert-your-name-here_-per-umbc-pres-hrabowski-promise_agep-reflections-sreb-srebdocsch-institute2014-atlanta/
In my talks with faculty, we discuss acknowledging students’ “superpowers,” imparting dreams, filling gaps, and providing pathways for them to achieve heights that are higher than their imaginations. After all, as President Hrabowski so eloquently said during his talk, these students are pioneers. Pioneers tread on new soil. Dr. Grant would use the metaphor of navigating new seas. Using either visual, this PhD, postdoc, faculty, leadership position is new for many first generation and even second generation college students. It’s an honor to be chosen to be part of each journey.
— Renetta G. Tull (@Renetta_Tull) November 1, 2014