UNCG Campus Weekly

Campus Weekly is published each Wednesday when classes are in session. In the summer, it is published biweekly.

Expert offers advice for mentoring underrepresented students in STEM

Whether in class, office hours or the research lab, Becky Wai-Ling Packard believes faculty and staff can have a major impact on students through their comments, actions and interactions. Packard, professor of psychology and education and director of the Weissman Center for Leadership at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, visits UNCG Thursday, Sept. 14, to discuss bringing intentionality to the mentoring and advising of first-generation and underrepresented students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). The public talk is from 4 to 5 p.m. in the School of Education Room 120.

Packard will offer practical recommendations to be more intentional about the time and energy being invested, and in doing so, how mentors and advisors can improve the power of their impact on students.

Over the past 20 years, Packard’s research has focused on the mentoring and persistence of students from diverse backgrounds, with a focus on first-generation college students, students of color, community-college transfer students, nontraditional-aged students, low-income students and women in technical fields. Her piece in the New York Times’ online education blog was awarded a Fame Award for the best portrayal of community colleges in the public media. Packard’s book, “Successful STEM Mentoring Initiatives for Underrepresented Students: A Research-Based Guide for Faculty and Administrators,” has been used as a resource by multiple institutions. She has worked with over 45 institutions on mentoring, advising and inclusion initiatives.