MHC’s Packard to give reading at Odyssey

By Alheri Egor-Egbe ’17

Becky Wai-Ling Packard, a professor of psychology and education and director of the Weissman Center for Leadership at Mount Holyoke College, is a leading expert on mentoring and educating students from diverse backgrounds.

Her new book, Successful STEM Mentoring Initiatives for Underrepresented College Students: A Research-Based Guide for Faculty and Administrators, is designed for educators who recruit and mentor underprivileged students.

Packard will give a reading from her book at 7:00 pm on Tuesday, October 4, at the Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley. The event is cosponored by the Weissman Center.

In her book, Packard first describes the real and perceived barriers that underrepresented students, including women, students of color, transfer students, and first-generation college students, encounter when they consider taking science courses. She then guides educators in creating mentoring programs, identifying priorities, and implementing appropriate practices.

“Packard tackles underrepresentation from the perspective of both students and of the education system they will encounter,” said Jay B. Labov of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. “This comprehensive systems approach is refreshing and, in many ways, unique.”

A recognized authority on STEM mentoring, Packard has long been recognized for her research around supporting underrepresented students as they navigate complex pathways toward higher education and work. She frequently speaks on these topics at the local, state, and national level. Her work has been supported by three National Science Foundation grants and her honors include the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.