Researcher. Mentor. Adviser. Editor. Friend. Alexis Walker is many things to her students, and she also is the latest recipient of the Felix Berardo Scholarship Award for Mentoring from the National Council on Family Relations.
Co-director for the new School of Social and Behavioral Health Sciences and the Jo Anne L. Petersen Chair in Gerontology and Family Studies, Alexis has been with OSU for 26 years. She served as editor of the Journal of Marriage and Family from 2002-2007 and serves on the editorial board of Family Theory & Review. She also participates on numerous committees and professional organizations.
But none of these titles or roles adequately convey her impact on generations of students, many of whom share their thoughts on what makes Alexis such a powerful mentor and scholar.
“I first met Alexis in the classroom where I was dazzled by her organization, her preparation, high expectation of students and her extensive knowledge of the field. … With guidance from Alexis, I learned a lot about myself as a student and researcher. Alexis pushed me to think outside my social location and to be a stronger critical thinker in my teaching, research and writing. … I strive to be the professional, colleague and mentor that Alexis was for me every day. Her participation in my life during graduate school and today has been far reaching.” Jana Meinhold, PhD, CFLE, assistant professor, Portland State University
“Dr. Walker spent countless hours helping me learn to write professionally, especially in regard to APA format, and for this I am known in the Washington State University College of Nursing as the ‘APA Queen.’ … I credit Dr. Walker’s research mentoring for my continuing funded research about the needs of families of children with special healthcare needs … Her influence has stayed with me as I now mentor doctoral students and young faculty. I hope someday to make the kind of difference for a student or faculty that Dr. Walker made for me.” Linda L. Eddy, PhD., RN, CPNP, associate professor, Washington State University College of Nursing
“Alexis was a demanding professor, but so gentle in her teachings. … She allows you to explore, take your time in the ideas and setting up the correct method, but then puts just the right amount of heat on you to fire you back up. In this way, I feel like Alexis forged my spirit of hard work and helped me to celebrate the small achievements with an eye always on the big picture. Cheryl Peters, PhD, program evaluation specialist, Michigan State University Extension
” … students discover that Alexis Walker is not the kind of mentor they had perhaps previously encountered. … If she becomes your professional guide, what you get is a mentor who tells you the unvarnished truth, encourages you to explore ideas, challenges you at every turn to accomplish more than you ever thought was possible, and celebrates your small and large accomplishments. She will read your work and return it more promptly than you might wish, having, as she calls it, ‘bled all over’ papers, proposals, journal manuscripts and thesis and dissertation drafts. … Her advice, insight and assurances guided me across the miles through the toughest times.
“Alexis sends her mentees streaming off into the world to do good work, and they do just that. In this way, the generativity of her mentorship creates a clear micro-to-macro effect, spreading outward in ever growing circles of influence as her students eventually pass on their accumulated experience and wisdom to their own mentees, often helping to bring about structural change in their environments. Thus Alexis Walker has become an innovator, change agent and mentor for many.” Elizabeth Bayler Levaro, PhD, assistant professor, University of Wisconsin-Stout
“As dean, I am so inspired by the quality of our faculty and the powerful ripple effect they create by mentoring the next generation of faculty. I am proud of Alexis and congratulate her for being a mentor for all of us in all aspects of our lives.” Tammy Bray, dean, College of Public Health and Human Sciences