Associate Professor of Psychological Science Dr. Katie Lawson is the 2022-2023 recipient of the Graduate Faculty Mentor Award.
Here is our Q and A with Dr. Lawson.
What is your mentoring philosophy?
I believe there is not a “one-size-fits-all” approach to mentoring. Students come into our graduate programs with differing interests, skills, and background knowledge related to their career and life goals. I think it’s important to meet students where they are, develop a relationship, and then over time you can recognize if there are opportunities or resources that you have access to as a mentor that may be helpful for them.
What strategies do you employ in your mentoring work?
I find that graduate students in our Psychological Science and Clinical Psychology Master’ss programs are very motivated and bright—they just need opportunities for growth and a little guidance on the best ways to spend their time to meet their desired career and life goals. When possible, I try to provide opportunities for students that may help them develop skills, learn new information, and/or build their resumes. This can include the opportunity to collect data, present at a conference, publish an article, or even just an email connecting them to someone in their field of interest they can chat with.
What is your proudest achievement in mentoring for your graduate program?
I am really proud of our master’s programs in Clinical Psychology and Psychological Science, in general. Our department does an excellent job preparing graduate students for research careers, and I always feel so proud when I see our students get accepted into PhD programs or offered a job after graduation. We have been working hard in our department to stay in contact with our alumni over time, too, and they are doing amazing things in their respective fields. It feels great knowing that we are playing a small role in their accomplishments, especially since many of them are first-generation students who just needed a little extra time and mentorship after their bachelor’s degree to meet their goals.
Who has helped you along the way as you have developed your skills in this area?
I have had fantastic mentors throughout my career, from my undergraduate program all the way to when I started as a junior faculty member at BSU. For example, Dr. Hilary Lips at Radford University was my mentor in my Experimental Psychology Master’s program. As a student, she gave me opportunities to engage in research, helped me find funding opportunities to support my work, provided advice about the PhD application process, and even invited me to give a talk when I was junior faculty member at BSU. As a first-generation student who was oblivious to some of the “hidden knowledge” in academia, her mentorship was invaluable.