Development of a Research Mentorship Program for Minority Students at a Southeastern Predominately White Institution


  • Josalin J. Hunter University of North Carolina Wilmington, USA
  • Jeremy James North Carolina State University, USA
  • Addie Sayers University of North Carolina Wilmington, USA
  • Sabrina T. Cherry University of North Carolina Wilmington, USA
  • Alicia M. Sellon University of North Carolina Wilmington, USA
  • Kris L. Hohn University of North Carolina Wilmington, USA
  • Anka Roberto University of North Carolina Wilmington, USA
  • Destini Bishop-James University of North Carolina Wilmington, USA



mentorship, minority students, high impact practice, research, mentoring


Mentorship is an underestimated asset that focuses on growth and accomplishments and offers broad forms of support to students from marginalized populations, including intersectional and overlapping identities.  This article aims to identify the gaps in current literature regarding mentorship, propose an adaptive mentorship model and identify the model's strengths in practice. Traditional mentorship models focus on one specific aspect of student identity, and this gap marginalizes an individual's identity's duplicity or multi-faceted complexity. Such models often offer great educational support but dismiss the value of high-impact research. High-impact research has been shown to positively impact marginalized communities because it allows the unique opportunity to engage in all stages of research. The model described in this paper is grounded in principles of collaboration and cooperation across an interdisciplinary team. Each faculty mentor and mentee possess intersectional and overlapping identities adding unique perspectives and resilience to the work they engage in. This resilience is united with various intersectional study complexities in behavioral sciences, medicine, social studies, and humanities. Thus, it offers a strengths-based experience that widens student opportunities and challenges unitary models of peer-peer/peer-to-adult mentorship patterns. 


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Author Biographies

Josalin J. Hunter, University of North Carolina Wilmington, USA

JOSALIN J. HUNTER, PhD, LCSWA, MPH, MSW is an Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work at UNCW.  She is an academician and a practicing clinical therapist. Her major research interests are mentorship, trauma and resilience, and black mental health. Email:

Jeremy James, North Carolina State University, USA

JEREMY JAMES, MA is a graduate student and teaching assistant in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at North Carolina State University. His master thesis explored social capital and racial biases in the K-12 system with African American children. Email: Website:

Addie Sayers, University of North Carolina Wilmington, USA

ADDIE SAYERS, PhD (she/her), is an assistant professor of linguistics in UNCW’s English Department and a founding faculty mentor of IMSRG. She primarily examines the interactions of language, social justice, and critical theory in her research, with a specific emphasis on linguistic and semiotic constructions of gender, race, sexuality, and their interaction. Email:

Sabrina T. Cherry, University of North Carolina Wilmington, USA

SABRINA T. CHERRY, DrPH, MSPH, MTS is a teacher, writer, and speaker with over two decades of working and volunteering in the field of Public Health. As an Associate Professor at UNC Wilmington, she has published over a dozen journal articles, book reviews, and commentaries and presented at nearly three dozen local, national, and international conferences. You can read more about her work here: Email:

Alicia M. Sellon, University of North Carolina Wilmington, USA

ALICIA M. SELLON, PhD, MSW is an Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work and a Faculty Mentor of IMSRG. ​Her major research interests are community and civic engagement among older adults, particularly those with disabilities, interprofessional education, and design thinking in education and health professions. Email:


Kris L. Hohn, University of North Carolina Wilmington, USA

KRIS L. HOHN, Ph.D., MSSW is an Assistant Professor of Social Work who has worked for over a decade on the impact of stigma on the health of the LGBTQIA+ community. Through mentorship, scholarship, and teaching, she elevates the critical role of social workers as social justice and policy advocates. Email:

Anka Roberto, University of North Carolina Wilmington, USA

ANKA ROBERTO, DNP, MSN-MPH, APRN, PMHNP-BC, is an Assistant Professor of Nursing and PMHNP Concentration Lead at the School of Nursing at UNCW. Her expertise is in the area of trauma and resilience both as a clinician and a translational researcher. She is a faculty mentor with IMSRG promoting projects with students who align with our mission and vision. E-mail:

Destini Bishop-James, University of North Carolina Wilmington, USA

DESTINI BISHOP-JAMES, LCSWA, MBA, MSW is Clinical Site Start-Up Associate at a leading Clinical Research Organization. Her passion lies in working with small non-profit organizations that place mental health and financial wellness at the forefront of their advocacy efforts. She uses her knowledge of social systems to help support marginalized communities and underserved populations through education and advocacy. One day, her dream is to enter the research world again to bring answers and information to the world and bridge a significant cultural divide.  Email:


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