Faculty mentors

Personal 4-year plans

At Eckerd, you get your own faculty mentor to help you map out a personal 4-year plan that can easily include study abroad, an internship (or two) and independent study on a topic you choose.

Professor Larkin, mentor, in the gym working out with Henry Ashworth '16

Working it out

Henry Ashworth is no ordinary student.

In three short years, he’d already done cancer research in a professional lab and co-published two scientific articles. He’d also been a chemistry tutor, a campus CrossFit trainer, a certified EMT with the Eckerd Emergency Response Team and a Resident Advisor in our community service residence hall. All while maintaining a 4.0 GPA.

“Henry’s one of our best and brightest,” says Dr. Joseph Larkin, his mentor, “so the academic part was easy. With all the opportunities he’s had, I tried to help him find the ones most useful to him.” Dr. Larkin won a National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant to support his research into how certain cancer-fighting drugs interact in the human body.

“I’m from California,” says Henry, “and because my parents were so far away, it was good to have someone on campus genuinely invested in my future. Dr. Larkin was good at helping me find the activities that feed the fire.”

All in a day’s work for Eckerd professors. “I submitted an essay to the annual Elie Wiesel writing contest,” Henry continues, “and four of my professors—four people with Ph.D.s—took the time to review it for me. The investment here is huge.”

And when it was time for Henry to choose between an internship at Massachusetts General Hospital, one at George Washington University or a third internship with the NIH in Bethesda, MD, Dr. Larkin was right there to help Henry sort it out. Today, Henry is working on his master’s degree in public health at University College, Dublin; he heads to Nepal for his Fulbright Scholarship in the spring of 2017.

Henry Ashworth '16

Henry Ashworth ’16
Majors: Biochemistry and Philosophy
Hometown: Ventura, CA

Professor Larkin

Dr. Joseph Larkin
Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Professor Highfill, mentor, looking at research with Sarah Nadler '10 and dog

Chase your passion

“I was born interested in animals,” says Sarah Nadler.

Since graduating from Eckerd, Sarah has worked as an animal trainer, an in-home dog trainer and an intern with a psychology lab that studies dolphin-assisted therapy.

She wasn’t always as sure about Eckerd. “My sophomore year, I started hearing about people who were doing animal behavior research at other places,” she recalls. “I actually thought about leaving.”

Then Dr. Lauren Highfill joined the Eckerd psychology staff.

“My whole life changed when I plugged into her research,” Sarah says. “I finally had a name for what I’d always wanted to do.”

Which is much like Dr. Highfill’s own story. “I was a psych major in college,” she says, “but didn’t know what I wanted to do. I enrolled in an Animal Behavior course sort of by accident because Developmental Behavior was full. It changed my life.”

Armed with an M.A. in Mental Health Counseling from the University of Florida, Sarah now works with humans at Life Adventures Counseling & Consulting, a private practice that combines traditional therapy with adventure and animal-assisted therapy.

Sarah Nadler ’10

Sarah Nadler ’10
Major: Psychology
Hometown: St. Louis, MO

Dr. Lauren Highfill

Dr. Lauren Highfill
Associate Professor of Psychology

Dr. Felice, mentor, sitting against a table with Greg Johnson '15

Blaze your own trail

Greg Johnson had a question.

Why don’t crowdsourcing platforms like MindMixer and Peak Democracy work for cash-strapped local governments?

The U.S. Patent Office uses crowdsourcing to evaluate patents. The Transportation Security Administration used it to develop a more efficient security line at airports. Why don’t city governments use it to get public feedback on proposed laws, or even co-create laws with citizens?

This is just the sort of out-of-the-box thinking Professor of Political Science Bill Felice loves. “I didn’t have any background in this at all,” Greg says. But once Dr. Felice agreed to supervise his project, Greg found the syllabus from a grad school course to use as a guide.

His findings? “Crowdsourcing platforms are often built by tech people who have little knowledge about the political process and are managed by political staff who have little knowledge about information communication technology.” As a result, these efforts aren’t as successful as they could be.

So Greg created “The eParticipation Progress Bar,” which illustrates the need for greater collaboration between government administrators and the developers who create the crowdsourcing software.

With graduation behind him, Greg headed to Oxford in England. He completed an MSc in Social Science of the Internet and is now a Trust & Safety Analyst at Google’s EU Headquarters in Dublin

Greg Johnson '15

Greg Johnson ’15
Majors: Political Science and American Studies
Hometown: Atlanta, GA

Dr. Felice

Dr. William Felice
Associate Dean of General Education and Professor of Political Science