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Announcing the Campbell Doctoral Fellowship in Mentoring Research


The Campbell Fellowship will be awarded to a student entering the Ph.D. program of the PSU School of Social Work who has a background in child and youth development and who plans to pursue research on mentoring interventions for youth enduring poverty and adversity. 

During the course of doctoral studies, the Campbell Fellow will engage in applied research focusing on existing mentoring programs in the community, particularly those with innovative program models, such as Friends of the Children. 

The Campbell Fellow will have opportunities to work as a Graduate Research Assistant on major federally funded research projects conducted by faculty affiliated with the PSU Center for Interdisciplinary Mentoring Research. 


The student selected for the Campbell Fellowship will be awarded $5,000/per academic year for the first two years of the doctoral program. The award will be over and above the support typically offered to incoming doctoral students (i.e., research assistant stipend and tuition remission). 


Candidates may indicate their interest in the Campbell Fellowship when they apply for admission to the Ph.D. program of the PSU School of Social Work and complete a brief application for the fellowship. The application deadline for admissions is January 15, 2014. The recipient will be notified of the award at the time that an offer of admission is made. Receipt of the fellowship is contingent upon enrollment in the Ph.D. program. 


For information about the Ph.D. program, please contact Doctoral Program Director, Eileen Brennan, Ph.D. ( For information about the Campbell Fellowship, please contact Thomas Keller, Ph.D. (

Meet PSU students who are engaged in a wide-range of mentoring research projects:


Mandy Elder, Undergraduate, Child and Family Studies, School of Social Work

Women in Higher Education and Changes in Families: First Generation College Students in Oaxaca Mexico

Mandy's research examines peer mentoring relationships of first-generation female college students from rural communities in Oaxaca, Mexico. Strict gender roles combined with a highly indigenous and impoverished population in Oaxaca create barriers to educational attainment and inhibit upward social mobility for women. In addition, higher education may be overtly discouraged by social pressures to stay within traditional roles as obedient daughters, wives, and mothers. To explore these roles, I will conduct focus groups and individual interviews with women attending university in San Pablo Huixtepec using a snowball sampling technique. By interviewing women who are currently attending university, the research will show the consequences and effects seeking higher education has had on their family relationships. Additionally, university personnel working with first-generation women students in Oaxaca can use the information gathered from this study to facilitate higher retention rates among this population at universities. Access to education is an important step in the process of gender equality in Mexico.

Mandy's interest in mentoring, supportive peer relationships, social justice, gender roles and first-generation college students springs from her own experiences as the first in her family to attend college. She comes from a rural community in Southern Oregon and is the recipient of a PSU President's Diversity Award for her work on promoting access to higher education. We are pleased to announce that Mandy has received a Fulbright Scholarship to continue her work. 


Jennifer Rainer, MS Student, Department of Sociology

Can cross-race youth mentoring help minority students and break down prejudice? Experiences from a majority-white urban high school

One of the most important issues in youth mentoring concerns the dynamics of race and ethnicity in mentoring relationships. Mentors often come from very different backgrounds than the young people they mentor. Studies on formal mentoring programs comparing benefits of same-race and cross-race matches have produced mixed findings. Research has rarely focused on how cross-race matches can promote racial empathy and understanding for both mentor and mentee. This research seeks to better understand the experiences of white adult mentors and African American and Latino mentees in an urban, predominantly white, high school through personal narrative. The research aims to discover practices that improve inter-group relations and yield positive effects in mentoring programs for minority youth.

Jennifer Rainer became interested in mentoring while serving as a mentor in her ethnically diverse high school in Texas. As an undergraduate at Texas State University, her internship with the San Marcos Police Department led to a qualitative study of the life experiences of juvenile girls involved in the justice system. Her research interests focus on the factors influencing racial identity development and cross-racial empathy.


Christian Rummell, Doctoral Student, Graduate School of Education 

A phenomenological study of long-term formal mentoring relationships involving gay adults and gay youth

Formal mentoring has been recommended as a strategy to offer support to gay youth navigating the process of understanding, defining, accepting, and sharing their identity as a sexual minority.  Although mentoring is thought to foster resilience and a range of positive outcomes during these formative years, no research has investigated these relationships. The proposed qualitative study will analyze in-depth interview data from mentoring dyads in a formal mentoring program that specifically sponsors one-to-one gay adult/youth mentoring relationships. Findings from this study will share the perspectives of gay mentors and mentees, with implications for program design, planning, and responsiveness with this marginalized population.

Christian Rummell has over 15 years experience as a mentoring practitioner, educator, and national training provider for mentoring programs across the country. He was formerly the director of training and technical assistance for MENTOR/National Mentoring Partnership and served as a training and technical assistance associate for the National Mentoring Center. You can download Christian's slides from our hosted community event on inclusive policy for mentoring and after-school programs serving LGBTQQ youth here.


Kevin Jones, Doctoral Student, School of Social Work 

A poetry-based interpretive phenomenological analysis of long-term mentoring relationships from the youth perspective

Little is known about the dynamics of long-term mentoring relationships between adults and youth, particularly those involving vulnerable children who face many challenges. Friends of the Children is an innovative mentoring program that utilizes paid mentors who are matched with children at the end of kindergarten and support them through high school graduation. The proposed research will use poetry-based interpretive phenomenological analysis to provide an in-depth exploration of these long-term mentoring relationships. The findings will yield information about the nature of long-term mentoring relationships and reveal the meaning of these relationships from the youth perspective.

Kevin Jones is the Practicum Director at the University of Portland. He has also served as the CIMR Doctoral Research Fellow at Big Brothers Big Sisters Columbia Northwest and as an adjunct instructor of social work courses at PSU and Pacific University. He is a poet with work published in local, regional and national literary journals including Pathos, Lilliput Review, and The Atlanta Review.

CIMR Opportunities for Students

Graduate Research Assistantships

A GRA position that provides staffing support for CIMR faculty involves conducting literature reviews, assisting with preparation of grant proposals, and working on research projects. Other GRA positions on the research projects of CIMR faculty will be posted as they are available.

Lectures and Seminars

Interested students are encouraged to attend CIMR lectures, seminars, and workshops as listed under the Education and Events heading.

Advising and Mentoring

Current and prospective students who want to pursue research on mentoring are encouraged to contact CIMR to connect with faculty who share their interests.