Lutrill and Pearl Payne School of Education Faculty Present at the 15th Annual Mentoring Institute Conference

January 17, 2023

BATON ROUGE, LA - Two Lutrill and Pearl Payne School of Education faculty presented a cutting-edge session at the 15th Annual University of New Mexico’s renowned Mentoring Institute Conference. Representing the Lutrill and Pearl Payne School of Education’s Educational Leadership programs, Dr. Henderson Lewis, Jr. and Dr. Margaret-Mary Sulentic Dowell ended the final months of fall 2022 semester focusing on research. The Conference theme was Fostering Diverse Communities of Mentorship: Evidence-Based Practices for Reciprocal Growth, which complimented Lewis and Sulentic Dowell’s research. 
At the 2022 Mentoring Institute Conference, Lewis’s and Sulentic Dowell’s collaborative session was titled “Mentoring Community Among Doctoral Candidates: Growing First-Generation Scholars of Color” which explored the timely issues facing Louisiana’s educational leaders and faculty at the collegiate level. The presentation focused on the challenges that faculty face in 21st century institutions of higher learning, specifically, concepts, and ideas, mentoring practices that support first generation scholars of Color.  
According to Lewis and Sulentic Dowell, the decision to enter into a terminal degree graduate program and the subsequent effort involved in earning a doctorate is rigorous, complicated work. Academia can be overwhelming. Scholarly academic work and its subsequent discourse – oral and written – can be especially demanding and often, isolating. A significant body of evidence suggests that earning a PhD is an additionally complicated process and undertaking for students who identify as Black, Indigenous, and/or People of Color (BIPOC) as well as for students who are the first from their families to earn a PhD. 
Sulentic Dowell coordinates the PhD program in Educational Leadership; Lewis oversees the PhD core coursework. “Presenting to an international and national audience from diverse fields such as medicine, education, and business was rigorous,” stated Lewis. Sulentic Dowell commented, “As a researcher, I was challenged to share with an audience of faculty from private institutions who are attempting to diversify their graduate student body.” 
Sulentic Dowell did double duty, also co-presenting as well as mentoring a recently minted PhD through the experience of presenting at a high-level, international research conference. A May 2022 doctoral graduate and proud LSU Alum, Dr. Channing Parfait, a member of the United Houma Nation and who is now Educational Leadership faculty at Nichols State University, co-presented his doctoral research, “Exploring Co-Planning Conversation During Teacher Residence: Creating Mentorship Community.” Parfait is a first generation BIPOC scholar. According to the LSU Institutional Research Office of Budget and Planning, in fall 2022, LSU enrolled just 2 American Indian/Alaska Native PhD students: 5 American Indian/Alaska Natives were enrolled in Fall 2021 and 4 in 2020. 
Dr. Laura Hensley Choate, Interim Director of the Lutrill and Pearl Payne School of Education provided the following statement, “It is impressive to see our faculty and a recent graduate presenting at such an important conference on mentoring. Congratulations to Drs. Lewis, Parfait, and Sulentic Dowell for their contributions to the field through sharing their research at this conference.”

About Lutrill and Pearl Payne LSU School of Education (SOE) 
A school of the College of Human Sciences & Education, the SOE offers undergraduate programs for students who want to pursue a career as a pre-kindergarten through 12th grade teacher or acquire dual certification in both traditional elementary and special education classrooms. Besides providing graduate certification in Instructional Coaching, educational technology, and urban & community education, the SOE offers a writing pedagogy minor, and a master’s degree in arts, arts in teaching, education (MEd), education in counseling (MEd), certificate of education specialist (EdS) and PhD. The School’s mission is to prepare educational professionals to be leaders, practitioners, and scholars knowledgeable in contemporary educational issues.

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