Nominator Veronica Hamilton said this about Dr. Wyatt, “Everyone in the lab he leads has been warm and welcoming. I was pleased to see several students having various backgrounds in race, ethnicity, gender, biological sex, and age. Having conversations with the other students in the lab, I learned that many of them are also on scholarships or in special programs that take a little extra effort on the part of their faculty advisor, yet he has never complained. He is a wealth of knowledge, along with being very kind and inclusive, respecting people’s pronouns, and always presenting with a welcoming attitude.”
Here is a Q and A with Dr. Wyatt
What is your inclusive excellence and mentoring philosophy?
As a mentor of student research, I work to guide students through the scientific method and to promote the collaborative nature of scientific discovery. Students are involved in all aspects of my research program, and I am committed to, and have a history of, recruiting women and students from underrepresented groups. I work to offer students rewarding research experiences that will enhance their interest in science and provide them with a competitive advantage as they enter the job market and apply to professional programs.
What strategies do you employ in your mentoring work?
I am committed to creating an environment that fosters development of young scientists. My overarching goal is to conduct hypothesis-driven research at a level of rigor that is intellectually challenging but achievable for undergraduate and graduate students. I work to link student projects in collaboration so that collectively, students are able to obtain enough data to present their research through written and oral formats. I have developed a model in my lab of having students present their research at the BSU research forum as their first experience. This provides a comfortable environment for students to experience a scientific presentation. I then encourage students to present at regional and international scientific conferences. I work one-on-one with each student during abstract development and presentation formation, as well as collectively during peer review sessions in lab meetings.
What is your proudest achievement in mentoring for your graduate program?
I have found that witnessing students grow as scholars is tremendously rewarding and I am very proud that each of my mentees has gone on to pursue additional advanced degrees or entered permanent STEM related job positions using the skills they acquired during their time at Ball State University.
Who has helped you along the way as you have developed your skills in this area?
I think mentoring is a work in progress. Initially, my own mentors helped me to develop skills as a mentor. With that said, I mentor much differently today than I did just a few years ago. Every student has different needs and gifts and with each interaction I learn a little bit that can be applied to each new situation. I think openness to make adjustments is important.