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Kara Schroepfer-Walker

Dean’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring
Evolutionary Anthropology
Advisers: Anne Pusey, Brian Hare



Kara Schroepfer-Walker became a graduate student in the Department of Evolutionary Anthropology in 2010. Since then, she has served as an adviser to five undergraduate students who have graduated with distinction. She also has been working with the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences on education and outreach programs since 2012. During her time at Duke, Shcroepfer-Walker has received, among other awards, a fellowship from the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, grants from The Leakey Foundation and the Margot Marsh Biodiversity Foundation, the Graduate School Mentorship Award (five times, 2010–2014), and a summer research fellowship from The Graduate School.

In Her Words

"It was great as a mentor to see one of my undergraduate students foster a love of chimpanzees and really want to get more into the research and learn more about their social behaviors. Through the course of the year when I mentored her, she made the decision to go to graduate school and is now doing her own Ph.D. work at the same field site at Gombe National Park where I do my field work. So it’s great to see her grow from a young undergraduate not knowing exactly what she wanted to do to now into her Ph.D. career."

In Their Words

Excerpts from Schroepfer-Walker’s Nominations

“Kara’s passion for her study of female chimpanzees transfers through her energy in research and contributes to her wonderful mentorship.”

“I always found that Kara struck a perfect balance between a hands-on approach, where she was always available to offer critical advice and feedback, and a hands-off mentality, allowing me to work independently at times so that I could take projects in my own direction.”

“She treats her students as colleagues and helps them arrive at their own solutions to problems, with just enough guidance to harvest each person’s full potential.”

“Kara was instrumental in creating a supportive research environment in a team environment that could have easily been intimidating and inaccessible to the undergraduate students involved.”

“As a confident and thoughtful young woman, she was an excellent role model and friend who directly impacted my decision to pursue a doctorate in evolution and anthropology.”