Dean’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring
Ph.D. Candidate (Adviser: George A. Truskey)
Since joining the lab of Professor George A. Truskey, Brittany Davis has mentored six undergraduates, including five from Duke and a summer student from Clemson University through the Research Experiences for Undergraduates program. As the senior Ph.D. student in her lab, Davis has also mentored junior graduate students.
During her time at Duke, Davis has been an NSF Graduate Research Fellow and an NSF and USAID Research and Innovation Fellow. She has been part of research collaborations between Duke and pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Bioiberica. She has also served as a member of the Duke Institutional Review Board.
IN HER WORDS
“I try to make myself available, whether it’s just to ask a question or to troubleshoot, whether you’re having a rough time or you just need someone to talk to. … I also allow my students to own their projects. I think it’s really motivating to have your own project and work toward something that you can call your own.”
On what she gains out of mentoring
On what she does to help mentees grow
IN THEIR WORDS
Excerpts from Davis’s Nominations
“For early students like me at the time, it is often difficult to muster interest in research when the connection from experimental results to practical application is not crystal clear. I attribute my change of heart to Brittany’s willingness to patiently explain the motivations and implications of the tissue engineering research the Truskey lab conducts.”
“From the first moment I walked into the lab, Brittany was welcoming, understanding, and inspiring. She didn’t care if I made mistakes or didn’t know how something worked. She just insisted that I ask her as many questions as I needed to understand. Not only has she instructed me on basic lab protocols, but she has shown me how to be a respectful colleague and student. She is always there to lend a hand to anyone who needs help in the lab.”
“Brittany’s lines of communication have always been open to all of the members of the lab. Whether I have a question or a concern, I know not only how to approach her, but also that she will make it a priority to respond promptly in the most helpful manner she can. Moreover, Brittany does not just passively wait for others to reach out to her for answers or advice. She keeps herself up to date with the academic and career goals of all three of her undergraduate students, and offers useful suggestions as well as her assistance, wherever it might be of use.”
“Last year, she attended a mentoring seminar and took the tools she was given in that environment and immediately applied them to her mentoring relationships with her (then two) undergraduate students. She spent time with each of us individually to candidly discuss her and our strengths and weaknesses, as well as to dissect her mentorship style with us. She emphasized that every mentoring relationship is unique, and her goal was to provide both of us with the type of mentorship that would most help us grow.”