Mentoring And Supporting Student Research: A Wider View

  • Kay Agoston George Mason University
  • Courtney Massie George Mason University
  • Karen Lee George Mason University


Location: JC Room D

This 40-minute roundtable will invite discussion on mentoring student researchers at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, with special focus on strategies and resources beyond the classroom to support student researchers in integrating their curricular, professional, and personal goals. Research activity typically takes shape in the context of a studentâs formal academic curriculum or degree requirements (such a thesis, dissertation, capstone, or honors project), yet research also represents an opportunity for reflection, self-discovery, and to explore new intellectual and professional pathways. While intellectual mentorship comes primarily from faculty advisors in the studentâs field of study, campus-wide resources such as undergraduate research experiences, writing consultants, and fellowship advisors can play an important role in nurturing emerging researchers. These forms of co-curricular support also serve to directly address issues of access by connecting students to research funding and mentorship and offering training in the writing, self-advocacy, and self-presentation skills required to successfully pursue independent research and professional development opportunities. Teaching and learning outcomes go beyond mastery of academic content to incorporate skills such as the ability to write for multiple audiences, identify and pursue funding opportunities, and engage in collaborative research. This roundtable will invite participants to share strategies and insights for mentoring student researchers that take the whole person and the wider spectrum of academic, professional, and personal goals into account.

Author Biographies

Kay Agoston, George Mason University

Dr. Ãgoston joined Mason as universityâs first Director of Graduate Fellowships in 2011. She was previously the Director of Georgetown Universityâs McGhee Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies in Alanya, Turkey, and Assistant Professor of Geography at Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, OH. She has an M.A. and Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Texas at Austin, and a B.S. in Foreign Service from Georgetown University. She is a published scholar of the cultural and historical geography of the Ottoman Empire, and has been the recipient of fellowships and awards from Fulbright, Fulbright-Hays, the Social Science Research Council, the Woodrow Wilson Fellowships Foundation (Andrew W. Mellon Fellow), the Ford Foundation, and the American Research Institute in Turkey. In 2001 she was among the inaugural class of Harrington Fellows at the University of Texas at Austin. At Georgetown she coordinated and directed summer institutes in Turkish for the U.S. State Departmentâs Critical Language Scholarship program. She has been recognized throughout her career for student mentorship, an international perspective, and the ability to write for both academic and popular audiences.

Courtney Massie, George Mason University

Dr. Massie joined the Mason community in January 2017 after several years at The University of Texas at Austin, where she earned her PhD in English. She worked in UT-Austinâs University Writing Center from 2012 through 2016, first as a writing consultant, then as a graduate student administrator. Her research interests include anti-racism, critical pedagogy, and empathy in the writing center context; her current project explores the impact of writing center employment upon tutors' own writing processes and identities. Courtney also teaches Advanced Composition at Mason. She spends a lot of time reflecting on how writing centers and composition classrooms can become more just and equitable spaces.

Karen Lee, George Mason University

Dr. Lee is a native Bostonian. Trained as a marine biologist, she studies the ecology and behavior of crabs and crayfish, particularly the biology of invasive species and the impact of human activities on crustacean populations. She is also the coauthor of an anatomy and physiology textbook for first year students. Karen is the new assistant director of the Office of Student Scholarship, Creative Activities, and Research. Before coming the George Mason University she was an Associate Professor of Biology at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown and was their first Undergraduate Research Coordinator. She has mentored undergraduate students during her entire professional career and has been a member of the Council on Undergraduate Research as a biology councilor for 12 years. Outside of work she sings barbershop bass and is a Red Sox and Patriots fan.

11:20am-12:00pm Mini-Workshops, Panels, & Roundtables