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2009 Dean’s Award: Alexis T. Franzese

Dean's Award for Excellence in Mentoring

Alexis T. Franzese received a B.A. degree (cum laude) in sociology from Union College. At Duke she has completed an M.A. and Ph.D. in sociology, as well as an M.A. in psychology. She is now a candidate for the Ph.D. in psychology. Her research explores associations between levels of authenticity and affective consequences of self-regulation. Alexis's nominations demonstrate how she fosters academic and personal growth by guiding her mentorees to carefully think about their academic priorities, establish clear expectations for their work, and set reasonable goals.

"I was considering graduate school and perhaps one of the biggest questions I had for myself was ‘Is life going to stop?’ Her answer-by-example was clearly that if you set priorities and stay focused, NO! I do not know very many people who can be fully work-oriented and life-oriented at the same time; Alexis is one of those people. Now that I am in a Ph.D. program, I still keep in close contact with her and she has not ceased to be a continual source of inspiration and motivation as I begin my own career in academia."

"She takes a genuine interest in other people's research and career plans, whether it's critiquing an interview schedule or sharing her CV so that other students can see a sample. Alexis has continued to show a great interest in my work and I can tell that she sincerely cares about how it's going." 

"During the spring semester Alexis began by asking me several questions about my work habits, including how driven I was, what times of the day I worked best, and how much supervision I needed. In doing so, she fit our schedule around me as best she could while still pushing me to develop better habits. She set up checkpoints for my work, even initial reading, and gave valuable and extensive feedback on everything I have done. ... Throughout the process I have frequently been overwhelmed by the challenges thrown at me by the nature of the work, yet Alexis has assisted me in understanding the problems I'm facing and done everything she could to help me prepare better for them. …As she is now finishing her second Ph.D., she is the ideal mix of a person whose goals and practices are refined and sound, as well as one who is still in touch with people just beginning in the field. The direct help with early stages of application, the fantastic research experience I have gained through her own extensive data and new experiments, and the very proactive academic habits and techniques I have learned with her assistance lead me to believe that my acceptance into any graduate institution is directly due more to her ability to guide me these past months than any other single factor at Duke."

Taking a holistic approach in guiding undergraduates, Alexis shows a genuine interest in their lives, their intellectual endeavors, and their plans for the future.