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Danelle Stevens-Watkins, Ph.D., holds many titles — psychologist, researcher, educator and mentor. She became the first woman of color to lead the University of Kentucky College of Education when named acting dean last semester. 

“I am in the position I am in because someone invested in me and chose to mentor me," said Stevens-Watkins, who is a professor in the Department of Educational, School and Counseling Psychology, as well as the university's associate vice president for research, diversity and inclusion. "Even to this day, I have a team of mentors to call on when I need advice or guidance."

Now, she pays the mentorship forward. 

“The key piece that drew me to UK to pursue my Ph.D. was my interaction with a professor who was the first Black female tenured in that department,” she said. “When I came to interview with her, she demonstrated a genuine interest in me.” 

She carried that authenticity, transparency and caring with her and applied it to her own mentoring methods.  

“The opportunity to give back and provide that for someone else, particularly for other women and women of color, is critical,” she said. 

Learn more about Stevens-Watkins, her research and those she mentors in the video above.