Becky Wai-Ling Packard is a Professor of Psychology and Education. She previously served as the Associate Dean of Faculty, the founding director of the Teaching and Learning Initiative, and the Director of the Weissman Center for Leadership. In those roles she oversaw faculty mentoring, an array of curricular/co-curricular programs, and a number of new initiatives.
Packard is interested in the intersection of motivation, identity, and mentoring. She aims, she says, "to understand how young people without easily identifiable role models and mentors in career domains manage to find the mentoring they need and sustain their desired possible selves, or who they hope to become in the future."
Packard's research focuses on mentoring, with an emphasis on how individuals such as first-generation college students, women, and persons of color construct mentoring networks as they navigate complex pathways toward higher education and work. She frequently speaks on these topics at the local, state, and national level. She also offers expert advice on ways to design mentoring and advising initiatives for students and faculty.
Her work has been supported by the National Science Foundation's CAREER, Gender in Science and Engineering, and Division of Undergraduate Education programs. In June 2005, she went to the White House to receive the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government upon early career scientists. She is currently a co-principal investigator on a Google-funded initiative where she is contributing to the peer mentoring design within computer science.
Community-based learning partnerships are an important part of Packard's work, based on years of collaborations with schools and organizations in Holyoke and Springfield. She received the Volunteer of the Year Award from Girls Inc., Holyoke.
As a first-generation college graduate herself, Packard is especially appreciative of how the numerous contexts of home, school, community, and work need to come together to support the educational progress of students.
- "Mentoring Initiatives for Underrepresented Students," VentureWell, November 29, 2016
- "New grants to Mount Holyoke and its faculty," Office of Communications and Marketing, April 26, 2016
- "Making the Lynk at Mount Holyoke: Institutionalizing Integrative Learning," Association of American Colleges & Universities, April 9, 2015
- "Applying to College: 7 Tips for First-Generation Students,"Nerdscholar, September 12, 2014
- "Helpful Advice For Transferring To a 4-Year College," Community College Campus News, March 11, 2014
- "College receives new NSF grant for science transfer students,"Office of Communications, February 7, 2012
- "Packard Pens Op Ed in NY Times Blog," NY Times, October 12, 2012
- Educational Psychology
- Seminar in Educational Psychology: Motivation
- Laboratory in Developmental Psychology
- First-Year Seminar: 100 Marathons
(* indicates Mount Holyoke College student/alumna)
Packard, B.W., Tuladhar, C.* & Lee, J.* (2013). Advising in the classroom; How community college STEM faculty support transfer-bound students. Journal of College Science Teaching, 42(4), 54-60.
Packard, B. W., Leach, M.*, Ruiz, Y.*, Nelson, C.*, & DiCocco, H.* (2012). School-to-work transitions of career and technical education graduates. Career Development Quarterly, 60(4), 134-144.
Packard, B. W., Gagnon, J. L.*, & Senas, A.* (2012). Navigating community college transfer in science, technical, engineering, and mathematics fields. Community College Journal of Research and Practice, 36(9), 1-14.
Packard, B. W., Babineau, M. E.*, Machado, H. M.* (2012). Becoming job-ready: Collaborative future plans of Latina adolescent girls and their mothers in a low-income urban community. Journal of Adolescent Research, 27(1), 110-131.