Becky Packard

Mount Holyoke College

Becky Wai-Ling Packard is Professor of Psychology and Education. As the Director of the Weissman Center for Leadership, she oversees the Center’s activities which include community service and public speaking. She also directs the Teaching and Learning Initiatives program.

Over the past twenty years, Packard’s research, with support from the National Science Foundation, has focused on the mentoring and persistence of students from diverse backgrounds including students of color, community-college transfer students, first-generation college students, low-income students, and women in technical fields.

In 2005, she was recognized by the White House with the nation’s highest honor for early career scientists and engineers. Her project focused on low-income urban youth as they moved from career and technical education high schools into work and community college, and she partnered with and was also recognized by a number of community organizations and an area hospital for her commitments in these areas.

She has published numerous articles in scholarly journals as well as public media. Her piece in the New York Times’ on-line education blog was recognized with the Fame Award by the Two Year College Association for the best portrayal of community colleges in the public media. 

Currently, she is co-PI on a Google-funded project promoting peer mentoring among women in computer science. Her new Whiting Foundation award will focus STEM policy levers in the U.S. and Europe. Packard’s book "Successful STEM Mentoring Initiatives for Underrepresented Students: A Research-Based Guide for Faculty and Administrators” was published by Stylus in Jan 2016.

A first-generation college graduate who attended the University of Michigan for her bachelor's degree and Michigan State University for her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology, Packard joined the faculty at Mount Holyoke in 1999. 

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Broadening Access to STEM Through the Power of Daily Interactions part of Earth Educators Rendezvous:Previous Rendezvous:Rendezvous 2016:Program:Plenary Sessions
While we are all familiar with the importance of mentoring programs as a tool to broaden access to STEM, we may overlook the potential power within our daily interactions with students. Whether in class, office ...