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Social psychologist and Winston-Salem State University professor Amber DeBono, Ph.D., has been selected as the recipient of the 2017 Karla Holloway Mentoring Award. This annual award, named for Duke University Professor Karla FC Holloway in honor of her substantive mentorship of women of color researchers during her academic career, recognizes a nominated individual for excellence in mentoring young women of color.
Holloway, the James B. Duke Professor of English, African and African American Studies and English, retired from Duke this year.
“It is an overwhelming and deeply gratifying honor to have an award in my name; but it becomes meaningful in the most wonderful way when I see this young scholar, Professor Amber DeBono, as the first recipient,” Holloway said. “Mentorship matters because our circles and cycles of scholarly sharing, professional attention, and critical support model and shape institutional cultures.”
DeBono, who nominators described as “a vital part of my student success,” “a mentor and role model,” and “an integral part of my support system,” is an assistant professor of psychological sciences at Winston-Salem State University, a historically black institution that is part of the University of North Carolina system.
Nominators testified to DeBono’s dedication to creating opportunities for undergraduate women of color, including matching students with graduate mentors; taking students to present at conferences; helping students publish in undergraduate journals; co-publishing with students; and supporting students’ research growth through research assistant positions in her lab.
“Amber has worked tirelessly to provide students with research opportunities and send them to graduate school,” a nominator wrote. “She gets as much of a thrill when her students publish as when she publishes her own.” A student commented, “She has opened so many doors for me, and even pushed me when I hesitated to take steps forward. […] I would have never thought that I would have done so much in my undergraduate years, but because of Dr. DeBono, I have an amazing CV and will be graduating knowing with confidence what my next steps are.”
Former students of DeBono wrote about her professional and personal support, and how she engaged with them as individuals. “She recognized each of her research assistants as individuals with unique backgrounds and narratives, instead of assuming we all shared a similar background,” a nominator wrote. “Dr. DeBono asked me about cultural differences and was open to talking about the obstacles I anticipated as a Black woman in academia.”
Another student wrote, “She always told us she was there if we needed anything, including homework help, finding cheaper textbooks or even if we just needed someone to listen. Dr. DeBono provided a level of support that I think all girls of color deserve from someone while in college.”
Students identified DeBono’s active mentorship as key in advancing their academic work:
“She pushed me to be the best student I could be and encouraged me to apply to both master and doctorate programs, submit my research for publication, and present at conferences.”
About the Karla Holloway Mentoring Award
The Karla Holloway Mentoring Award recognizes individuals who work with women and girls of color during the early stages of their development as scholars and researchers, recognizing the crucial importance of mentoring for identifying, cultivating, and supporting women of color scholars. The award annually honors a nominated individual from an affiliated institution of the Collaborative to Advance Equity Through Research.
About the Collaborative to Advance Equity Through Research
The Collaborative to Advance Equity Through Research is a national coalition of institutions in the United States committed to taking meaningful action to support and improve research addressing the lives of women and girls of color. Collaborative members make commitments to and invest resources in research at their own institution for a minimum of five years, and work collaboratively with other members to build new connections, share promising practices, and support the advancement of research addressing the lives of women and girls of color.