Philosophy and Portfolio

You can view my mentoring philosophy here.

I won the 2020 Dean's Award for Excellence in Mentoring for my work with my RAs and other graduate students (e.g., see teaching demos).

Ziwei Zhang working in the Egner lab
Sophie Tan Egner lab website photo
  • Sophie worked with me from fall 2018 through spring 2019, via a practicum and independent study. She subsequently did her thesis in the Samanez-Larkin lab.
  • She was accepted into the Vertical Integration Program, but declined to participate.
  • She contributed to one lab publication (Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance). She also presented once in lab meeting on her project.
  • Sophie's primary goal was to gain experience with memory and attention research, particularly if there was an application to ADHD. To fulfill her goal of getting exposed to the research, we often exchanged notes on the readings I had assigned (e.g., 1, 2,3). We would discuss these further in person as well as any kinks she experienced while running experiments. For her second semester, when she was doing an Independent Study, Sophie asked if she could get experience programming, so she learned how to code randomized arrays, present stimuli, and record responses within PsychoPy. This stimulated her interest in data science, so she took an iXperience course and joined Dr. SL's lab for more experience.
Vineethsubbu Somasundaram at the Vertical Integration Program presentation
  • Vin has been working with me since fall 2019, via his practicum and independent study.
  • He was accepted into the Vertical Integration Program. He made a poster of and presented on his research as part of this program. Because his VIP experience involved coding his spring 2020 experiment into JavaScript, his presentation and poster were largely preliminary.
  • He has contributed to various lab projects, none of which have been published yet. For example, Vin coded an independent study project in PsychoPy in spring 2020, but before he could run participants in person, Duke and Durham had shut down due to COVID-19. This necessitated learning how to code in JavaScript for his first-author behavioral VIP project.
  • Vin's long-term goal is to go to medical school, so he wants to gain neuroscience research experience. For his first semester, he ran a few task-switching studies, and we discussed the literature and potentially doing some computational modeling together. He asked if he could code for his next lab project, so he did, and again in VIP. He is continuing his VIP project this fall.
Benjamin Romero Jr. Egner lab website photo
  • Benny worked in Egner lab on a paid basis via support from the Charles LaFitte Program in Psychology and Neuroscience at Duke during fall 2019.
  • He led a journal club style lab meeting on a relevant paper of his choosing.
  • Benny's goal was to gain research experience and see what graduate school was like. He also wanted to become better at reading academic articles. While running a task-switching experiment, he discussed graduate school with me as well as the literature he was reading. Finally, we ensured he had a chance to lead a journal club discussion of an article in lab, so that he could feel more confident discussing academic research. I provided him with a worksheet to guide his reading and offered feedback on his notes.
  • As the lab manager in the Learning & Decision-making lab at Rutgers-Newark (2014-2016), I was the point person for new research assistants. This meant giving students a lab tour, getting them fingerprint access to our lab, having them do CITI/ethics training, and adding them to our IRBs. I created a guide for these items and other ideas for research activities, depending on long-term goals (e.g., E-prime tutorial if they wanted to develop a study or understand how one is programmed).
    • It was not until my last semester (spring 2016) that I realized I too could mentor RAs.
  • Mihika was a sophomore at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, so she commuted to lab when she could, which was not often. Her primary goal was to gain research experience. I included her on the project Jess was running for lab.
    • If I could go back in time, given the commute, I would now try to design more of an online learning experience for Mihika.
  • Jess, a sophomore, was interested in pursuing a PhD in neuropsychology, counseling psychology, or clinical psychology. This interest was a little more clinical than our standard lab research, so while doing a literature review and helping run projects in lab, Jess and I talked more about whether Dr. Tricomi's lab was a good research fit and ways we could try to match Jess's interests.
    • Jess is now pursuing a PhD in Counseling Psychology at Purdue University.
collage of Sydney Albert, Noah Schaffir, and Taylor Albus
  • All RAs co-mentored with Brenda Yang worked on the mindset project described on the Research page and either did a psychology practicum or were paid through our grant sponsored by the Charles LaFitte Program in Psychology and Neuroscience at Duke.
  • I recruited Noah and Sydney through my TA, Introduction to Cognitive Psychology. We first discussed goals and expectations. Noah & Sydney then read the first three chapters of Mindset and summarized their thoughts. Afterwards, we gave them coding instructions and example prompts without a key. Once we discussed their answers and any lingering confusion over the concept of mindsets, we gave them more data to code and had them meet with each other to resolve differences. We met with them when needed and asked for their feedback on the art exhibit we curated of this research. They worked with us during the spring and fall 2019 semesters.
  • Brenda recruited Tommy through her TA, Introduction to Psychology, and he worked with us during the spring 2019 semester. He also read the first three chapters of Mindset as well as some academic research articles. Tommy wrote Java scripts to take in string inputs and categorize them as having fixed or growth mindset words or phrases (n-grams). He iteratively improved this code over the course of the semester.
  • Brenda and I advertised for a web developer to continue Tommy's work. After interviewing other Duke undergraduate candidates, we recruited Taylor to convert Tommy's Java code into a functioning web-based algorithm that other researchers and educators could interact with: We primarily worked with Taylor on developing the web-based algorithm during the fall 2019 semester.
  • In 2019, I attended the Mentorship Workshop series hosted by DIBS (see 2020 Professional Development Grant description).
  • In 2018, I served as a mentor to first-year graduate students for the Duke Psychology & Neuroscience Department (program now extinct).
  • In 2017, I organized an undergraduate-graduate student mentorship program for the Duke Women in Science and Engineering group. This involved emailing interest surveys to both undergraduate (45 responses) and graduate (67 responses) students of various STEM departments. The WiSE leaders and I then matched survey respondents together based on their responses.
    • One major hurdle was minimal funding for the program.
    • In retrospect, I should have also built this program in a more sustainable way. After the semester had passed, I tried getting in touch with one of the leaders about continuing, but my emails went unanswered and the program died out.
  • In 2017, I was also selected for the graduate/undergaduate mentoring program at the Duke Women's Center, but was ultimately not matched to a specific undergraduate student (program now extinct).