Simine Vazire (Psychology Ph.D. and IE Pre-Grad School Mentor)
Note: Simine received UT's Outstanding Dissertation Award (May, 2006)
The Intellectual Entrepreneurship (IE) mentoring program gave me the opportunity to formally do what I've been practicing throughout grad school - mentoring, teaching, and being a friend to an exceptionally bright and motivated student. I met Natasha (a first-generation student) when she was enrolled in the class I was teaching (as an AI). She stood out as particularly enthusiastic and interested in psychology, and she asked about getting involved with research. She joined my lab over the summer and stayed as a research assistant for the next year. When we found out about the IE program, we signed up immediately. Natasha had already been more than just a research assistant - testing her own research questions with our data, making posters to present at conferences, and taking the lead in the lab and overseeing the work of the other RAs. The IE Internship gave us a chance to recognize her unique role and to pay her way to Society for Personality and Social Psychology's annual conference where she presented three posters. We also spent a lot of time talking about future plans. Even though Natasha was only a sophomore, she took the initiative to look into various graduate programs and research opportunities. She got in touch with a friend of mine in counseling psychology to learn more about that field, and had the opportunity to interview a faculty member in the counseling department. Thanks to this program, Natasha is way ahead of the game with respect to graduate school. In addition, because of the IE program I now have valuable experience with one-to-one mentoring, which has prepared me for the challenges I will face mentoring undergraduates and graduate students in my new position as assistant professor.