Karla Holloway Mentoring Award
The Karla Holloway Mentoring Award is an annual award honoring a nominated individual from a Collaborative institution for excellence in mentoring young women and/or girls of color.
During her academic career, Dr. Karla Holloway authored eight books and held appointments in the departments of English, the Law School, Women’s Studies, and African & African American Studies simultaneously. In the midst of this prolific professional career, Professor Holloway set aside time to advise students, she used her official positions to create opportunities and generate resources for marginalized students, and she advocated for generations of young scholars. Her substantive mentorship had meaningful and lasting impact for many women of color researchers.
The Karla Holloway Mentoring Award recognizes the crucial importance of mentoring for identifying, cultivating, and supporting women of color scholars.
This award recognizes individuals who work with women and girls of color during the early stages of their development as scholars and researchers. This can include work with undergraduate and graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and junior faculty, and youth leaders and community based youth researchers.
Only individuals who currently work at a member institution of the Collaborative to Advance Equity Through Research are eligible for nomination for this award.
Dr. Amber DeBono
Social psychologist and Winston-Salem State University professor Amber DeBono, Ph.D., has been selected as the recipient of the 2017 Karla Holloway Mentoring Award. This annual award, named in honor of Duke University Professor Dr. Karla Holloway’s substantive mentorship of women of color researchers during her academic career, recognizes a nominated individual for excellence in mentoring young women of color. DeBono, who nominators described as “a vital part of my student success,” “a mentor and role model,” and “an integral part of my support system,” is the inaugural recipient.
Nominators testified to DeBono’s dedication to creating opportunities for undergraduate women of color, including matching students with graduate mentors; taking students to present at conferences; helping students publish in undergraduate journals; co-publishing with students; and supporting students’ research growth through research assistant positions in her lab.
“Amber has worked tirelessly to provide students with research opportunities and send them to graduate school,” a nominator wrote. “She gets as much of a thrill when her students publish as when she publishes her own.” A student commented, “She has opened so many doors for me, and even pushed me when I hesitated to take steps forward. […] I would have never thought that I would have done so much in my undergraduate years, but because of Dr. DeBono, I have an amazing CV and will be graduating knowing with confidence what my next steps are.”
DeBono is Assistant Professor of Psychological Sciences at Winston-Salem State University, a historically black constituent institution of the University of North Carolina that offers a rich curriculum rooted in a high-quality, liberal education.
“It is an overwhelming and deeply gratifying honor to have an award in my name; but it becomes meaningful in the most wonderful way when I see this young scholar, Professor Amber DeBono, as the first recipient,” Duke University James B. Duke professor of English Karla Holloway said. “Mentorship matters because our circles and cycles of scholarly sharing, professional attention, and critical support model and shape institutional cultures.”
Former students of DeBono wrote about her professional and personal support, and how she engaged with them as individuals. “She recognized each of her research assistants as individuals with unique backgrounds and narratives, instead of assuming we all shared a similar background,” a nominator wrote. “Dr. DeBono asked me about cultural differences and was open to talking about the obstacles I anticipated as a Black woman in academia.”
Another student wrote, “She always told us she was there if we needed anything, including homework help, finding cheaper textbooks or even if we just needed someone to listen. Dr. DeBono provided a level of support that I think all girls of color deserve from someone while in college.”
Students identified DeBono’s active mentorship as key in advancing their academic work:
“She pushed me to be the best student I could be and encouraged me to apply to both master and doctorate programs, submit my research for publication, and present at conferences.”
“I have the pleasure of attributing my many presentations, conference attendances, and graduate program acceptances to [her] help.”
“She gave us exposure, made our CVs competitive, and encouraged us to explore interests outside of classes and the lab.”
“She truly cares about her students and it is obvious that she wants us to succeed.”